boardwalk workshop

Ideas presented at two public workshops on the future of the Saint John boardwalk included an amphitheatre, and expanded marina area. (Connell Smith/CBC)

The Saint John Waterfront Development Corporation held two interactive workshops on Tuesday, as part of its public consultation process on a redesign of the boardwalk, Loyalist Plaza and Market Slip areas.

The location, near Market Square, is considered the centrepiece of the city's waterfront.

Some came to the workshop, known as Talk the Walk, hoping to preserve the existing beach volleyball courts, which bring hundreds to the waterfront.

'People who usually keep their boats up the river would say, 'Let's go down to Saint John for a couple of days,' and tie up and visit there.' - Eric Phinney, workshop participant

Other ideas included an overhead walkway to the coast guard site, dedicated space for the Marco Polo replica, and an amphitheatre.

"An accessible public performance space that's got a nice performance stage and some super good lighting," offered Melina Iverson, who attended the event at the Market Square atrium.

Eric Phinney came to push his idea for improvements to the Market Slip dock area. He said a redesign offers a chance to bring more pleasure-boaters to the Saint John waterfront by shielding Market Slip from ocean swells.

"Put a wave attenuator system out in front of it and develop some slips, maybe some amenities for yachters, maybe have some gas and diesel available," said Phinney, who suggested an expanded and improved marina area would make people more likely to spend an evening on the town and overnight on their boats.

"People who usually keep their boats up the river would say, 'Let's go down to Saint John for a couple of days,' and tie up and visit there," he said.

"That virtually never happens, but I don't think there's a real good reason it shouldn't happen."

Glenn Group, an architectural landscape and park design firm, has been enlisted to prepare a design.

It will be presented to city council for approval in the new year.