Council gets update on Niagara Parks Marina redevelopment project

As boaters start looking forward to a summer on the water, Niagara Parks is getting ready for a major redevelopment project in 2025 at its marina on Miller Creek.

In an update to town councillors at the March 18 council meeting, Niagara Parks Chair April Jeffs and CEO David Adames said the request for proposal for the project is expected to go out this spring. The 2024 boating season will go forward as usual, but the marina will be closed in 2025 before reopening in 2026.

“It’s something I am particularly excited about, something that was important to me during my time as parks chair,” Jeffs said. “Every time I drive out there I see the potential.”

The project will see increased public access, renovated public washrooms, and a cafe built on site. Adames said they expect to at least double the number of slips available.

“We’re going to try to get it to 250 if we can,” he said.

Current slip holders will have first opportunity to be slip holders when it reopens in 2026. Adames said they’re still working on the details around how the new spaces will be allotted.

Niagara Parks expects to spend up to $19 million on the redevelopment. The organization will remain as owner and operator of the marina.

In addition to the update on the marina project, Adames outlined some of the other projects impacting Fort Erie, including the Gonder’s Flats wetland restoration project.

“It’s the largest wetland project in Niagara over the last couple of years,” he said.

Credit: Niagara Parks | YouTube

There’s also the ongoing breakwall repairs along the shoreline. Adames thanked the community for its patience, as lower revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic caused a slowdown for that work. The presentation to council said the “majority of repairs have been completed, (with) final site remediation to take place this year.”

Road work along the parkway, including Service Roads 2, 3, 16 and 27 are also planned for 2024.

Additionally, Niagara Parks locations in Fort Erie will have activities during next month’s solar eclipse, including Q&A sessions with NASA subject matter experts at Old Fort Erie.

The Niagara Parks Foundation, which was relaunched in 2022, has also picked out the Old Fort as a priority project. Located just east of Old Fort Erie, its remains date to 1764 and is the oldest British fort in Ontario. Experts from Wilfrid Laurier University conducted an archaeological dig on the site in 2019, and Niagara Parks plans to preserve the site and interpret it for the public to help tell the story of the original fort.

Niagara Parks’ mandate calls for it to be environmental and cultural stewards for the Niagara River corridor, and is founded on the principles of not being a burden to the taxpayers of Ontario and, as much as possible, being free for the public to enjoy.

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