Windsor riverfront could include lights, food trucks, more
Windsor's beloved riverfront could be in for some major changes.
City council is getting set to review a new riverfront development plan, which could pave the way for a pedestrian tunnel under Riverside Drive, bicycle rentals, better lighting, improved washrooms and more.
In an effort to gage what the public wants on its waterfront, the city held 11 open houses last year and received feedback through 665 surveys.
It also had consulting companies review the 2000 Central Riverfront Implementation Plan.
Respondents washrooms and lighting as the top two concerns. Athletic facilities, like volleyball and basketball courts and a skateboard park, came in at the bottom of the list of 32 possible projects.
Stacy Adam, with the local canoe club, thinks the downtown area needs better kayak access.
"If they do any development, [I hope] that they remember that there are people who kayak, and if there was a place that we could get out if we needed to, that we could," Adam said.
So far, the proposal does not include any new areas for people to get in and out of the river on canoes or kayaks.
Thirty-seven per cent of respondents do support a car-top boat launch, though.
More space for vendors and food trucks is also being considered.
Right now, Terry's Home Made Fries is the only food truck allowed on the riverfront.
Operator Jeff Sorrell says his spot on the city's west side needs more free parking.
"There's got to be more parking down here. You have maybe 20 spots here in this park for free, for one hour," he said. "If you want to come down here and relax, you should be able to come down here and park for nothing."
Elaine Weeks is the daughter of former Windsor Mayor Bert Weeks, who championed rivefront development in the 1970s.
Weeks says the priority should be in maintaining the riverfront's features.
She wants graffiti cleaned up, water features up and running, water fountains added and food trucks permitted.
"Essentially just maintain what we have and improve it slightly, nothing elaborate or expensive," Weeks said. "I think it can be enhanced rather than augmented with a lot of potentially expensive ideas, such as a marina.
"The thing I didn’t see at all was looking at how to promote the waterfront."
Weeks wants the city to erect billboards in prominent points of entry to the city.
"Don’t miss our waterfront, it’s spectacular," she said.
Council will meet next week to discuss staff's plan.