2 waterfront concepts being pitched to Stratford residents
One concept described as very natural; second has more buildings and organized areas
Stratford residents are being asked what kind of waterfront they want in their community, now that the sewage lagoon and treatment plant near the Hillsborough Bridge have been decommissioned.
The two potential waterfront designs, created by Nova Scotia consulting firm Upland Planning and Design, have been posted online so that residents can offer their feedback by March 22.
"We had an earlier consultation where we asked people to bring ideas to the table. The firm that we have contracted then took all those ideas, and they developed two concepts," said Jill Burridge, a town councillor in Stratford.
"What we're asking people to do is look at those two concepts, and let us know what they like about one or the other, or features within either of them."
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Both have 'natural aspect'
Burridge said one concept keeps the site very natural, and the other has a little more of what she calls 'hardscaping' in it, with more-organized areas.
"What we heard from residents is 'We do have an interest in keeping things as natural as possible,' so I would say both have a natural aspect to them, one more so than the other," she said.
Burridge said the more developed concept could include elements such as a plaza, a market, a cafe and an amphitheatre.
She said in the more natural concept, there is natural wetland set up in the same area.
Burridge said some elements are part of both concepts: "You're going to have a boardwalk. There's an interest to keep the riverbank and the shoreline in its natural state. In both, you're going to see the kayak launches."
The councillor said there are multiple ways that residents can react to the two concepts.
One is by adding comments to the online maps of the waterfront designs, in a process called social pinpointing. This method was used to gather feedback on previous Stratford waterfront consultations.
Burridge said there is also something called spectrums on the online feedback page.
"They might ask you, would you like to see one destination in the park, or several destinations?" Burridge said.
"Do you want to see organized events, or do you want to keep this fairly casual? Do you want a lively waterfront park, or do you want it to be more peaceful?"
Burridge said there are also some ideas where residents will disagree.
"One example would be, say, a dog park. Some people would say:'You don't put a dog park on the waterfront,' or 'That might not be the place,'" Burridge said.
"Right after that, you'll see someone saying, 'How lovely would it be to have a place to take my dog while I'm walking at the waterfront park.' So these are the different perspectives, and we'll see how it comes out at the end."
So far, Burridge said the response seems evenly divided between the two concepts, and the final recommendation will be a blend, incorporating the most favoured elements from each.
Town project manager Jeannie Gallant has been involved with the sewage decommissioning project since December 2017.
She said the goal will be to coordinate the removal of the lagoons with the start of the waterfront development.
"We're looking to have all that worked out, so that as we do get to infill the lagoons, and start working on the landscaping and the grading, we will have a plan already in place for how we want the green space to look," Gallant said.
"We won't be doing things twice. We'll know the plan, and we'll be able to proceed."
Burridge said the town has budgeted $1 million this year for the project. The consultation process will cost around $75,000, with $925,000 to start the first phase of the waterfront development this spring.
She said the consultants will give the town options for adding elements on the waterfront, as funding becomes available.
Burridge said the online discussion forum is open to residents until March 22.