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Rendering of the Cedar Crescent Village interior courtyard. G.M. Diemert Architect Inc.

Editor,

Thank you to those who participated and spoke to the Cedar Crescent Village proposed lease; to those for and against, and especially to our Mayor, Council and Town staff.

I was unable to attend the December 16 public meeting but here is what I would have said:

For residents that live here year round, this development offers outdoor programming and event space in all seasons. I do not head south in the winter and do not have the option of waiting to return until late spring. I live here year round.

So I, like the majority of taxpayers and renters in our community, look forward to fall, winter and spring events and activities in our Town of Saugeen Shores, and now I am hoping at our waterfront.

I remember when I worked as as Tourism Coordinator for the Port Elgin Chamber of Commerce and some thought the waterfront promenade would ruin the beach and our view, and that it would take up towel space, it was said by a small and vocal minority that Council was making a mistake.

When we started a little event in search of the world's largest vegetables, that idea was crazy and was never going to bring people to Port Elgin in the fall. People will only come here in the summer. When I left Port Elgin Pumpkinfest as their Marketing Coordinator we were attracting over 60,000 people to the annual event.

When I worked at MacGregor Point Provincial Park and the idea of an 400 meter outdoor skating trail was first discussed, we were told that was crazy. Who is going to come out in the winter and skate outdoors in the elements, with our Bruce County winds coming off the lake? It’s become a popular attraction and proven that if you build it they will come no matter the season or how much snow or wind we get here on Lake Huron.

The same can be said for this development and those against it and what it offers in activities, events, and attractions. I trusted the CAO and Council then and I trust them now. I voted this Council in to represent a majority of residents, not a minority.

I trust the developers, all local residents and business people, to follow the Waterfront Master Plan and build what the public has asked for over and over; an active beach with activities, a development with much needed outdoor recreational and programming space, and for private and community events, including a dining restaurant for our visitors and residents alike.

I also trust our Town staff and Council to assist the developers in creating a development that does not take up towel space or parking spaces, and brings back features that are sorely missed by a majority of our residents and visitors.

These same proposed attractions and businesses that are offered by the developer are originally what attracted many in the 1940s and 1950s, right up to the 1980s, to build or buy their cottages at Port Elgin’s public beach. Fine meals on china with an alcoholic beverage like at the Sunset Lodge (which became The Edinburgh Inn), the Cedar Crescent Casino for community events like dances, weddings, banquets, and fundraisers, many outdoor programs and events that drew my parents and siblings to enjoy the beach like the beach carnival, bingo, train ride, mini golf, tennis, swimming lessons, day camps, and bands playing live music.

The facts are simple and uncomplicated. Out of the 12 beaches we have in Saugeen Shores, the Port Elgin Main Beach was designated an “active beach", as it has been since the early 1900s, by the Waterfront Master Plan Committee as a result of public meetings, surveys, and letters to Mayor and Council.

The developers, Town staff, Council, and our Mayor, I can assure you, did not take this decision of revitalizing of the Port Elgin waterfront lightly. Their dedication, hours of research in speaking to the public and consulting with qualified experts, has resulted in a fair and extensive approach to making an educated decision. A decision on what is best for our community and its residents and visitors.

The members of the Waterfront Master Plan Committee, of which I was one, also did not take the task of creating recommendations for the revitalizing of the Port Elgin waterfront lightly. We also reviewed and consulted with stakeholders, listened to experts, and most importantly rooms full of residents of all ages who wholehearted asked to enhance and retain our Port Elgin beach as an active beach; to improve the buildings and add attractions on the beach for all ages.

Change is never easy no matter what side you are on but when decisions are made for others who have asked for something that they believe is needed, wanted, and most importantly will be used by all ages, they are made for the right reasons.

I have never worked for the municipality but I am proud to say I have promoted Port Elgin and Southampton and been a community volunteer since returning home in 1989. I have been a volunteer on several municipal committees since 2007, including as I mentioned the Waterfront Master Plan Advisory Ad Hoc Committee.

Volunteering in the community is an opportunity to learn the municipal process, policies, procedures and why some decisions are made. It is a way to contribute to your community in a positive way and meet a wide range of residents who also want the best for the community.

Sincerely,
Mini Jacques

See also: Cedar Crescent Village; concept, design and lease details

Committee of Whole approves in principle waterfront lease

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