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Over 200 people packed into a meeting that allowed them to have their say on the updated Port Stanley harbour plan on Monday evening.
“I was impressed with the number of people that came out,” said David Marr, Central Elgin mayor.
Marr said one of the most important aspects of the updated plan was continued public access to the waterfront.
“First and foremost was that we would continue to ensure that there was public access to the waterfront on both sides of the harbour. So, there will be walkways and green areas all the way around to ensure the public can always have access,” Marr said.
Another thing that Marr said was important in the updated plan was the mix of commercial and residential buildings. He said it was important to balance the two because if more people are coming to live in the village there will need to be more commercial entities to provide them with what they need.
The flow of traffic was also a significant portion of the updated plan.
“They will have some suggestions on how we could improve our traffic flow because in the summer time we do have issues down there from time to time,” Marr said.
Marr said people were hesitant to accept the plan that said buildings could be a maximum of 10 stories high.
“There aren’t that many multi-floor structures in the village at this time, but there’s more than what some people may think. There’s some buildings that are, say, four stories high, but because of hillside or maybe they’re down low it’s not as noticeable,” Marr said.
Marr said he thinks people may be concerned that tall buildings are going to be overwhelming for the village. The suggestion from the plan was a maximum of 10 stories, which doesn’t mean the buildings have to be 10 stories.
“I don’t think it’s maybe as big an issue as what some people may think,” Marr said.
Once the municipality determines land use plans it will go to a market analysis, and a market analysis will determine what is actually viable in the village.
“It’s one thing to say 10 stories, but maybe you don’t need 10 stories. You know, it could be a lot less. But, if you were to say it’s four stories and then find out that’s not viable you need more floors to make it viable. I think you have to have that flexibility,” Marr said.
Structures along the waterfront require a certain amount of parking and because it’s floodplain the first floor may need to be parking, Marr said.
“We certainly did hear the fact that people have concerns about the heights, and so when we’re looking at this we’re going to take that into consideration,” Marr said.
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