Iroquois beach the top priority in $4.8 million waterfront plan

 The $4.8 million Iroquois waterfront plan was unveiled at the June 2, South Dundas council meeting.

The estimated price tag for the bulk of the plan is $3.8 million, but a proposed re-alignment of Adair Road adds a million dollars.

The presentation was delivered to council by Jim Wilson, chair of the Iroquois Waterfront Committee, and Mark Brandt and David Lashley of MTBA, project consultants.

“The concept is meant to reflect community interests and focus on enhancement rather than development, while respecting the town’s history,” said Wilson. 

“Maintaining views was an important aspect of the plan,” said Lashley. 

Calling it Iroquois Commons Waterfront Park, the consultants explained that this enhancement plan is intended to evoke an understanding that this special place is for all residents and visitors connecting the village’s resources – the village and the river – together in a common place that honours the past while providing for present activity.

The design team’s efforts focused on renewing and enhancing the existing waterfront, beach, campground and arrival sequences to create an attractive, refreshed place that complements and reflects Iroquois’ history.

The area of the plan called, ‘The meadows’ is intended to use plantings of seed mixes with wildflowers to delineate the former village streets. “It creates a really pleasant area, and it’s a really important element because it’s such a large area,” said Brandt.

They suggested iconic elements such as a stone wall to connect the Forward House area to the Carman House area to create an historical area. 

The Iroquois Beach area, has been identified as a priority area for this design. The consultant proposed changes to the existing beach building to make it look like, “a beach pavilion rather than a beach bunker.”

With a waterside expansion to the existing building, it could be given new life, making way for a café and deck area. “With a modest café, this would be a delightful spot,” said Brandt.

They have proposed doubling the size of the beach and doubling the size of the swimming area.

Boardwalk, and finger docks reaching out into the water and kayak/canoe rentals, are all part of the proposal. 

“These are all modest, gentle, evolutionary enhancements that reinforce the value that’s already there,” said Brandt.

“There are substantial costs involved with this plan, and it’s easy to see that as a roadblock,” said Wilson, but he is positive about the plan that the community now has at its disposal.

Like the Morrisburg Waterfront Plan, this plan was designed such that projects can be done, piece by piece, as funds are available. Many portions of the plan could be accomplished through community driven efforts.

“I am impressed,” commented South Dundas mayor Evonne Delegarde. “This plan reflects the wishes and desires of the people, particularly in Iroquois.”

“Our challenge now is to determine what we can put aside annually to see that these two plans are implemeted,” said South Dundas deputy mayor Jim Locke. “I don’t think these two concepts will ever be outdated, which is a good thing. It’s taken us 50 years to get these plans.”

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