This year waterfront revitalization in Port Elgin became a polarizing subject as plans for the Cedar Crescent Village (CCV) divided the community.
The Cedar Crescent Village concept includes; a restaurant, market place, storefront and an event hall in the North Parking Lot of Port Elgin Main Beach, was approved in principle during the last Committee of a Whole meeting December 16, 2019, by a vote of 7-1.
Proponent Port Elgin Businessman Pier Donnini says although it will be privately owned the space will be used "very, very, publicly,".
Since September the Port Elgin Beach Preservers have been steadfast in their opposition of the project, citing issues with commercializing the beachfront and the CCV's 50 year lease.
In a interview with Bayshore Broadcasting Donnini explained why the CCV requires a 50 year lease.
"We're delivering a considerable asset to the people of Saugeen Shores at minimal cost, so from a business standpoint we need to be make that money back and pay our bills."
In the Lease the Town of Saugeen Shores would have the ability to buy the property back after 20 years.
Throughout the negotiation process, opponents were unhappy with what they claimed was a lack of transparency and requested the final drawings be shared before the lease and proposal came before the Committee of Whole.
When originally presented to Council in the Summer of 2019, Donnini had hoped for 'shovel's in the ground" by the Fall of 2019. However, through public feedback and the lease negotiation process, final drawings weren't made available until December.
"We listened to a lot of input on this, which is why it took so long to come up with some images," says Donnini.
Of the space he says, "you're going to walk through it everyday and not even know that it's leased to private individuals."
When the concept designs created by G.M Diemert Architect Inc., the same company which designed the new Saugeen Shores Police Headquarters was released it was met with mixed reactions by the public.
"Coastal means a lot of different things to a lot of different people...what we came up with was something that fits our specific coast...airy, natural, no brick, no concrete. It's going to be wood and sand and colours that make sense," says Donnini.
The Lease and proposal for the CCV will be in front of Council for final approval in January 2020.
Photos and layout can be found at the Cedar Crescent Village website.