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Monday, November 18, 2019

List of Asks Circulating for Cedar Crescent Village is a Dated "Wishlist"

Saugeen Shores | by Megan Johnson  

The proposal, including the lease, will be made public when ready for Council's consideration

The parking lot purposed for Cedar Crescent Village 

Correction: The Article has been corrected to say there are six investors not seven.

A recent social media post circulated from the Port Elgin Beach Preservers (PEBP), a group of people against the proposed Waterfront Revitalization Project - known as Cedar Crescent Village (CCV) as it stands in draft form, shows a wishlist of early negotiations between the Town of Saugeen Shores and Pier Donnini, one of six local investors involved in the CCV project.

Town of Saugeen Shores CAO, David Smith explains it as "A list of suggestions by the proponent to the Town as their starting point for consideration. Purposely connecting an unrelated email."

He also adds the current lease which will be made public when it’s presented at Council is over 30 pages long.

"The proposal, including the lease, will be made public when they are ready for Council's consideration following our regular process."

Pier Donnini tells Bayshore Broadcasting News the lease negotiations have "gone back and forth many times, as have our lawyers."

One bone of contention with many circulating the post was the ask that CCV would not pay tax on the property.

Donnini says the "wish" in early negotiations was asked because the plan was to build and staff a tourism office, facilitate another public bathroom which would including showers for boaters, remove snow, etc., at no cost to the public through tax dollars.

"One of the reasons we felt a tax waiver was something we should negotiate...we're going to provide a lot of services that normally a municipality might consider at a facility like this...it’s a pretty long list and when it comes out, I think it will be self-evident,"says Donnini .

"We've heard a lot of positive input and constructive criticism," says the investor.

"The process has worked and we're proud to be living in a community that takes this stuff really seriously. So we've adjusted the proposal, where possible, to reflect the feedback we've gotten."

A petition circulated by the PEBP has been signed by over 4,000 people from around the world. The group is for revitalization of the former train station, mini-golf, and parking lot space but against what they refer to as a "convention centre" (CCV has called it a public event hall).

The issue of parking, when the event hall would be in use, is one of the reasons for the concerns; which Donnini says can be easily rectified.

"There are many solutions; for the few days a year when parking may pose a challenge, the boat launch parking can be utilized, we would provide shuttles, we could also make arrangements for off-sight parking and we would at our costs provide shuttles (for event guests)."

The event hall when originally displayed in draft form at an initial council meeting and public information event in September has since been modified.

"That’s because of public input. We've received a lot of feedback and only a portion of the project will have a second floor."

A Flea Market space is included in the draft designs has been expanded to become an in-door/outdoor facility. The CCV wants additional beach markets held on the weekends;  to allow residents and visitor who work Monday through Friday to attend. The traditional Wednesday Market would still take place.

Donnini adds engineers and professionals will take into account the changing environmental issues  with rising water levels, "as a considerable investment is being made."

"It needs to be clarified the notion that it’s being built on the beach," says Donnini,

"We're re-purposing lands that had an attraction on it, which we hope to bring back...and a parking lot...and if the proposal is accepted  as we've put forward, there will be more beach space, as we will move the current volleyball space."

Four Volleyball courts located in the center of CCV are in the original draft design concept.

Patricia Corrigan-Frank a founding member of the PEBP says the group is unhappy with what they say is a lack of transparency and has concerns with the municipal process.

She says the PEBP would like the public to see the finalized plans before the lease is negotiated at council.

The group will have a delegation at the next Commitee of a Whole set for Nov. 25.

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