The final master plan provokes strong reactions
After more than ten years and various consultations during 2018, the final master development and design plan for the Cedars Park project was presented to City Council on June 11.
The plan provides for the implementation of the new pavilion and:
- The implementation of a new vehicular and pedestrian link.
- A new route for active transport.
- Review and improvement of the waterfront boardwalk.
- The reorganization of the parking area and the addition of spaces near the boat launch.
- The construction of a health trail for adults.
- The creation of an ice-covered pathway for skating in winter.
- The installation of a natural amphitheatre, a promenade and a winter sliding area.
- The extension and implementation of a new route for active transportation.
- The construction of pedestrian links giving access to Arthur-Croteau and Raoul-Roy streets.
- The addition of a water access ramp for light craft south of the park.
- Maintaining the ball field and play structure for children.
Several groups clashed during the public consultations to express their interests and desires regarding the development of Cedars Park.
Aylmer District Councillor Audrey Bureau indicated that "it was impossible to satisfy everyone" and that the high expectations of so many parties to force the city to make several concessions, but maintains that the plan tabled on June 11 "is in the best interest of the residents of Gatineau. »
It is important to mention that changes can always be made to the plan that will be tabled at the July 2, 2019 City Council meeting. This is not a defined contract, but rather a driving force behind the project that allows councils and citizens to discuss the project more clearly.
Following the unveiling of the plan, several residents indicated that they wanted to see "more green space" both in the parking space and in the project in general, a proposal that Ms. Bureau says she heard and supports "will certainly be possible during the implementation of the project".
She also wanted to reassure citizens that the city and its experts will also evaluate all the changes to be made regarding floods and climate change:
"We will certainly evaluate all the possibilities to adjust the project to the new reality, whether it is to raise the roads or create a natural dike, at the implementation phase, several changes will be made, we all want to protect our investment. »
Changes still need to be made
The plan was not welcomed by the entire population, the commodore of the Grande-Rivière sailing club, Stéphane Poirier, for his part, contests aspects of the plan presented on June 11.
"It's the same plan they presented to us 18 months ago, and there are a lot of things that don't seem to be consistent.
Mr. Poirier points out the following aspects of the project as unsatisfactory:
- The location of the skating rink, which he believes is a major safety issue since its location will "force people to constantly cross the main street to pick up and drop off their skates for storage across the ice ring street".
- The new street route that crosses the park, which he says "divides the park in two" and is planned to pass "through an area that was completely flooded this year and requires the cutting of two large century-old trees".
- Lack of space for launching boats and parking trailer cars.
- The plan invests too much in paving and not enough in recreational activities".
As part of the consultation process, the Sailing Club and several other associations such as APICA, Les amis de la Marina, AKWA and Centre Boréalis submitted their own development plan for Cedars Park, a plan that Mr. Poirier believes is significantly superior.
"Our plan was made by everyone and that plan makes everyone happy because everyone worked on it. It seems that the city is betting on the"'Wow factor' to the detriment of water activities".
The alternative plan proposed by the associations suggested that the city give more priority to on-site infrastructure and invest the $13 million planned for road travel to develop more activities on the site, such as: expanding the sandy ground for more volleyball net fields and anchors, developing open shelters, developing green social spaces and setting up a lighting floor at the pier belvedere.
Some of the associations that proposed this plan have disassociated themselves from it, including APICA and the Friends of the Marina.
Jean-François Lacombe, President of the Friends of the Marina Neighbourhood Association, pointed out that although "it is not a perfect plan", several of their recommendations were heard during the 18-month consultation process. These recommendations were mainly to respect the quietness and configuration of the surrounding streets.
However, he stressed that his group would have liked to see a structuring system with the STO and the conservation of the entire area reserved for the marina's emblematic sailing boats.
]"The city has made a lot of efforts over the past 18 months, there are things we would like to change, but at some point, the project has to move forward. -Jean-François Lacombe
A common complaint shared by associations and many citizens is the route of the city's new scenic road. According to the current management plan, this road would pass over the location of two century-old trees and would require the cutting of these trees, an action trail that Mr. Poirier and Mr. Lacombe would like to avoid.
Although nothing is set in stone, the city has put forward an estimated $22,565 million bill for the project.
13,500 million would go to fund the creation of the main entrance and parking lots and $1.4 million would be invested in recreation and physical activity.
65 thousand will go to environmental improvement projects and $2.5 million will be allocated to other improvements.
Contingencies and professional fees represent $3.1 million and $2 million respectively.
All these prices are only estimates, the tendering process will only start after the 2020-2024 budget discussions to be held in the autumn.