Hamilton's waterfront has a new boardwalk and docks

The opening of a new boardwalk and docking facilities at Pier 7 is being celebrated as the first of many projects to reach completion under the city's massive waterfront redevelopment plan.

The $3.8 million project completion is a small part of the $140 million waterfront redevelopment

The new floating docks at Pier 7 are the first completed part of the West Harbour redevelopment project. (Chris Seto/CBC)

The opening of a new boardwalk and docking facilities at Pier 7 is being celebrated as the first of many projects to reach completion under the city's massive waterfront redevelopment plan.

On Monday morning, a group of dignitaries and city staff members stood at the entrance of the newly constructed docks at West Hamilton Harbour and took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of this phase of the project.

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A series of 12 docking spaces and a boardwalk running 150 metres along the shoreline were highlighted at the event as the first fruits of the redevelopment project that has been in the works for years. There are 14 new benches and six new lounge chairs to sit on and view the harbour along with new lighting, electrical and irrigation systems to support eight new planter beds with a mix of flowers and trees. 

Chris Phillips, head of the West Harbour redevelopment project, said Monday's event was to celebrate the completion of this phase of the construction and give people an idea of the overall vision of the project as a whole.

"We're looking to create West Harbour as a destination, certainly for Hamiltonians and for people that live within the vicinity, but also as a tourist attraction as well," he said.

Once the redevelopment is finished, this stretch along Pier 8 be widened to 30 metres and dedicated to public space by the water. (Chris Seto/CBC)

Following the master plan

Hamilton's waterfront lands are owned and controlled by the city. The city has just under 30 acres of land on the waterfront within the West Harbour. Next year, the city plans to have shovels in the ground to construct between 1,200 and 1,600 residential units and commercial space between Piers 5 and 8.

The boardwalk and dock development cost the city $3.8 million—a small portion of the $140 million redevelopment project as a whole. Phillips said the total cost to the city will be spread over the next 10 years and will cover everything from the marina, breakwater, cycling paths, shoreline configuration, the docking system and more.

Council has approved $60 million towards the project to be used by 2018, he said. 

The breakwater stretch out from the harbour, breaking the waves and keeping the water calm around the shore. These new structures were recently constructed as part of the West Harbour waterfront redevelopment project. (Chris Seto/CBC)

Bringing the city together

"It is bringing the city together, in my opinion," said Jeff Pidsadny, a senior project manager with the redevelopment. He said he grew up and spent much of his life on the mountain and never really visited the waterfront. But since being assigned to this project, he's seen many people from all over the city enjoying the space.

He said he's even been contemplating moving by the water when he retires.

Phillips said there are a number of phases to the waterfront redevelopment project and residents will have the opportunity to shape design elements of each phase. Every month, the city hosts community engagement events where residents can voice their thoughts. The next meeting is Thursday, June 23, 2016, at 141 Park Street North.