John De Carli introduced Wes Crown, a planner for 25 years in both public and private practice and His Worship Gord McKay who has worked at DND, the BMO, KPMG and, since moving to Midland has been a volunteer, a councillor and the Mayor.

Mayor McKay said the waterfront project is like Rotary in that it is an exercise in community building driven by vision.  As Rotary has done with polio, working as a team to a vision can change the world.  Change is often resisted as people only see what they will lose.  But if we can look to the long term we can see benefit for everyone.  The Mayor had recently visited Niagara on the Lake and Fort Erie, both towns at the mouth of the same river, both founded in the 1800's.  But Niagara on the Lake is constantly evolving, developing new visions and moving towards them and we all know about the attractions of that community.  Fort Erie, though, has not managed anything like that.

This opportunity - seeing these lands come up for sale - has generated a vision - make this area Midland's Front Porch on the Bay.  It can be our connection to the water and can bring new energy to the whole area.  It can go beyond layout and become transformative.

Wes Crown described the steps taken so far.  The action plan has been publicized and is posted on the website so that awareness has been spread across the Province.  Possible development partners have been approached.  Excitement is building.  The site has 3,300 ft. of shoreline and is 40 acres.  It is the most significant development site on the Bay.

Planning approvals are being sought.  There is an full awareness that the site has long been industrial.  In Jan. 2013 an Interim Control Bylaw was approved by Council that, though controversial, was necessary because it froze all and any development until a Master Plan could be developed to control development there and into the future.  There have been two public workshops, both well attended and, in comparison to other public meetings, the audience was huge.  The community's comments and vision have been included in the plan.  It is not to be a 40 acre park - it is intended to be a mixed community and a neighbourhood with 800,000 to over a million sq. ft.  A 6 - 7 acre civic square and amphitheatre will be the central focus and the entire shoreline will be in the public realm with an active trail system running through the area.

The site will have 27% green space where most subdivisions are required to only contribute 5%.  The purchase process includes an environmental study which is ongoing but the final decision should be made before the end of this year.  The plan defines the non-negotiables in that it tells the developers what will not be allowed but gives them freedom to exercise creativity within those bounds.  Intensity and height levels will decrease from W to E (4,5,6 stories down to 2 or 3) and commercial will transition into residential through the same zones.

Currently Mr. Crown's department is drafting planning reports, they hosted an open house on March 5 and there will be a public meeting of the Planning Committee on April 2.  They are aware that recent developments like Bayport have been halted and know that completion is a long way off but they are thinking long term.