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Waterfront connection promises to inject life into city's south core.

So close... and yet so far.

That has been the traditional relationship of Thunder Bay's south core to its waterfront.

The Kaministiquia (Kam) River flows only a few hundred feet from the centre of the city's south core. However, because it is blocked off by buildings and a rail corridor, the river might as well be a hundred miles away.

Convinced that the entire city would benefit from improved water access, Thunder Bay council hired consultants Moore/George Associates to create a master plan for riverfront development. The consultant's $18-million riverfront plan includes an $11-million Kam Heritage Park as its centre piece.

If carried out, the plan would link the downtown to a scenic recreational space, beautifying the area for sightseers, boaters and visitors. It is hoped that the development would encourage private investment and tourism.

Although the entire plan could take more than a decade's worth of land acquisitions and construction to accomplish, city Councillor Betty Kennedy is confident that the people of Thunder Bay have the patience to carry it out.

"It will take time, but we've got to stick at it," she says. "As long as there's a greater goal we're working towards, everyone will pitch in."

Kennedy and Councillor David Hamilton view the project as physical proof of the city's commitment to save the ailing south core.

It is estimated that the project could generate more than $10 million in construction as well as 200 person-years of employment. The Kam Heritage Park itself would produce the equivalent of 15 full-time jobs.


Other aspects of the waterfront master plan include enhancing the Mission Marsh conservation area, which is located on one of the Kam delta's islands, and maintaining selected used and disused industrial buildings as interpretive historical attractions.

As a first step, a so-called "starter project," the city has tendered a contract to renovate an underpass from the south core to a 30-metre stretch of the riverfront that will eventually have a dock, a viewing platform and a small park with a commissioned sculpture.

However, the project is off to a rocky start. The lowest bid for the job came back last month at almost $1.5 million, or $350,000 over budget. The city had $900,000 from the province's anti-recession fund to spend on the project this fall, but the added cost will likely mean a redesign and a delay until next year.
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Title Annotation:Focus on Thunder Bay; proposed development plan would link the downtown area with the Kaministiquia River
Author:Sanders, Larry
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Previous Article:Developers confident in condominium market.
Next Article:Business and citizens fight to save the city's south core.

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