Council inviting new Niagara Parks chair to answer questions on marina

Fort Erie councillors have some questions for the new chair of the Niagara Parks Commission.

Following a letter to council that was included as correspondence at the May 27 council meeting, Councillor Ann-Marie Noyes put forward a motion to invite the new chair of the commission, Bob Gale, to come speak at a future meeting and answer questions about the plans for the marina at Miller’s Creek–which once again have changed.

Credit: Niagara Parks | Facebook

Noyes said it was only a few months ago that there was a big announcement with much fanfare about a planned $19 million redevelopment of the marina property. Then-chair April Jeffs and CEO David Adames came to council to discuss the plans, which included increased public access, renovated public washrooms, and a cafe built on site.

Adames said at the meeting they expected to at least double the number of slips available, though it would have also meant the marina would be closed for 2025.

With Gale taking over as chair earlier in May, the commission has apparently changed its mind.

“And now suddenly out of the blue they’re pulling the plug, no explanation except that they’re going in another direction,” Noyes said.

In the letter to council, Gale said the commission approved a motion “to put the current redevelopment of the marina into abeyance and immediately prepare and release a scoped RFP (request for proposal) to seek interest from the private sector in this redevelopment opportunity.”

This new RFP, Gale’s letter suggested, “will focus on the redevelopment of the marina into a world-class resort destination and will include the sale or long-term lease of the lands west of the Niagara Parkway (pending provincial approval).”

Councillor Nick Dubanow agreed with Noyes that more clarity is needed, though he suggested returning to a larger plan that would include the private sector might be the better way to go.

“I’m somewhat excited that they’re going back to the original plan, I always thought that was something we could utilize as part of our waterfront here to do something really spectacular with that property and marina,” he said, adding, however, this project has been punted along for years.

“I’m getting concerned nothing’s being done.”

For his part, Gale’s letter sought to reassure council the marina remained a priority.

“We strongly believe in the potential of the marina to support new and increased visitation to the area, as well as economic growth for the community, Niagara region and province, especially given its spectacular location and position as the only marina on the Canadian side of the upper Niagara River,” the letter said.

For slip holders at the marina, there was some good news. With the commission taking on a new direction for the marina, that means it’ll remain open and operational for 2025. Gale’s letter said that has been communicated to slip holders.

In a press release announcing Gale’s appointment as chair posted to the Niagara Parks website, Gale pledged “to champion the principles of transparency and accountability across the organization.” It came as he also announced the return of the public portion of commission meetings, beginning in June.

Stay Informed

Events, offers, contests, and breaking news, all delivered straight to your inbox.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *