The Municipality of North Grenville has published a draft of their proposed Waterfront Access Strategy (WAS), and has posted a survey on their website asking residents for comments and suggestions for the final policy document.
Prepared by Dillon Consulting Limited, in partnership with Urbanmetrics, the aim of the strategy is “to develop an overall long‑term vision and implementation framework, in collaboration with the North Grenville community and its key stakeholders, to improve community and tourist experience in accessing the shoreline and two waterways while balancing environmental conservation”.
It is recognised that there is a general agreement within the community that improvements are needed to how we utilise our waterways, both as recreational assets for residents, and as tourist attractions to take advantage of the UNESCO World Heritage status of the Rideau Canal, which forms the northern boundary of the municipality.
The draft report provides the overall vision for the Strategy: “The vision for the North Grenville Waterfront Access Strategy is as follows: North Grenville’s waterfront is a thriving place all year round, with clean, biodiverse, safe, and navigable waterways that are recognized as the heartbeat and lifeline of our community. Waterfront access must be balanced with the protection, restoration, and enhancements to the rich natural and cultural heritage”.
Although the report refers repeatedly to issues of heritage, particularly Indigenous and cultural heritage, it fails to define what those terms actually involve. There is clearly a need for such definitions if there is to be a realistic and practical application in the final Strategy document. For example, the report believes in “celebrating waterfront heritage and incorporating Indigenous culture into uses along the waterfront”, without explaining what that heritage actually is.
One other possible issue is the use of the term “Kemptville Creek” throughout the strategy report. Although it has come to be accepted as the official name for the river running through North Grenville, it is neither historically accurate, nor particularly attractive in terms of tourist attractiveness. The report wishes to “promote Kemptville Creek as the pride of the community and a key tributary of the Rideau River”. This might be more easily achieved if the correct historical name, ‘the South Branch of the Rideau River” was used.
Other aims of the strategy are obviously important: “to celebrate and protect North Grenville’s natural beauty through sustainable and climate resilient actions and tourism goals, and to promote year‑round use of our waterfronts with site improvements, placemaking, wayfinding, and additional programming”.
The Draft Report on WAS is available on the municipal website, as is the Survey in which to comment on WAS at: www.northgrenville.ca/council‑government/projects/mng‑projects/waterfront‑access‑strategy
The survey will remain open for three weeks. It closes on Friday, February 16, 2024.