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  • Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla

Redesigning Leamington’s waterfront to leverage its full potential

With development in the field of automation and telecommunications, there has been an explosion in the work from home culture. Allowing for greater amounts of leisure time, there has been a constant increase in demand for recreational opportunities and public amenities.

The Municipality of Leamington is commencing a project to redesign and develop city’s Waterfront Destination Master Plan. This plan envisions transforming the waterfront to serve several purposes in a visitor-driven and pedestrian-focused community. The development will be made to compliment the sections of the existing waterfront that include Sunset Stadium, the Lakeside Marina and ferry connections to Pelee Island. This will bring about an economic, social and physical restructuring of the city.

The waterfront has been one of Leamington’s greatest assets, not just as a key environmental strength, but also has been catering to numerous social, recreational and cultural activities. The Waterfront Master Plan will serve as a guiding document to explore ways to further enhance these aspects. There will be extensive study conducted that will serve as a roadmap for the upcoming years to help direct Leamington’s waterfront development.

“Leamington’s waterfront has always had so much untapped potential,” Leamington chief administrative officer Peter Neufeld said in a release. “We are developing a plan to realize upon the great value of our waterfront and transform it into a premier destination for residents and visitors alike.”

The redevelopment of a city’s waterfront serves as a catalyst for restructuring and developing the economy as a part of the amenities strategy. Capitalizing on the advantageous values of the waterfront, Leamington may hope to attract a greater number of skilled workforce, potential investors and new economic activities, along with improving the quality of life for it’s residents. We may see a boost in tourism, thus active transportation, and improved connections along and near the waterfront to other municipal properties.

The mayor of Leamington, Hilda MacDonald said, “Leamington Council is very supportive of creating this vision and sees community input as an important part of the process in shaping the future of our waterfront. When complete, the goal is for Leamington’s waterfront to be a vibrant destination that drives tourism, fosters economic success and attracts and retains a new generation to Leamington.” 

The politicization of the waterfront may be considered an indication of it’s potential as a powerful economic development tool. It will also enhance accommodation of new urban land-uses, amenities and community services for a greater social motivation.

The Municipality encourages the community to engage in several opportunities in developing the plan. With updates provided on Facebook and Twitter, amid this pandemic, people are directed to an online platform for updated information and community perspectives, while gathering input and feedback from the locals. Engagement through several online undertakings will be requested including identifying recommended improvements on a map, sharing and discussing ideas for the waterfront with other members of the community and providing feedback via short surveys, opinion polls, etc.

“Leamington council is very supportive of creating this vision and sees community input as an important part of the process in shaping the future of our waterfront,” MacDonald said. This opinion/feedback process will not only ensure the community’s involvement and interest in the waterfront development, but also allow considering and weaving a responsive design that promises a successful integrated concept, making Leamington a premier waterfront destination upon it’s completion. The online activities can be found at www.leamingtonwfmp.ca. For additional information, please contact Alexander Del Brocco, C.E.T, and Engineering Project Manager for the Municipality at 519-326-5761 ext.1369.


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