by Candy Venning

The Pier 8 Park proposal: ‘Park’ has to be one of the broadest terms for a space that can be so many things but in this case, a 30m wide strip of public, park space wrapping itself around the new developments and alongside the waters’ edge.

Also, it’s a massive opportunity for change. Change in our city with regards to a built in connection to the waterfront, a change in direction to refocus waterfront use, changing the city to a standalone destination for tourism. (this includes our 100+ waterfalls, Botanical Gardens, Gage park revitalization and more)

I really encourage you to contemplate the lakefront, what it was, what it could be, what it means to you and could mean to the image of our entire city.

Everyone here knows we aren’t just steel mills and factories anymore, we have Cootes Paradise, Princess Point and fantastic trails meandering past beautiful vistas, but what can we envision moving forward & creating something completely new?

During Supercrawl, six big colourful renderings, were propped up on easels in the hallways of the (beautifully revitalized) Lister Block. Staff were on hand with forms to encourage you to vote for your favourite.

The six proposals on display showed the highlights created after of months of planning using a comprehensive checklist (that consisted of additional months of planning by the city) Digital ‘photos’ showed varied concepts from groups of landscape architects, designers and engineers, each with different & interesting visions.

Ask anyone what they want and it’s hard to imagine the creativity that came out of the 6 proposals – most of us would be tempted to name and include things we’ve already seen done.

More than a landmark we want to create a destination – a place to meet, to play, to enjoy the beauty of a priceless natural resource, our lake.

Personally, I hope we chose something bold, something that becomes a landmark but still incorporates the quaintness of bridges or boardwalks, something that integrates the lake into the built edge (instead of a rectilinear concrete shoreline) and something that’s fun. (One proposal had a floating swimming pool, another had a splash pad with oversized loungers and another included a cantilevered viewing platform high over the water)

Over the past 30 years an estimated 2 billion has gone into remediating the harbor & it’s no time to get ‘cold feet’ now. Construction is proposed to start in spring of 2019 – we have a long way to go and we’ll need to stay true & steady to a vision, it may be the hardest part – sticking with the choice we’ve made. Let’s see the entire vision through for a truly fantastic space we can be proud to add to our city.

Candy Venning, Landscape Designer with Venni Gardens, resident, community contributor

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