Plans unveiled for improvements in ’Burg

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By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Public green spaces, waterfront pathways and new residential development are part of the vision for Wallaceburg’s south side.

This following Chatham-Kent council’s recent approval of a bylaw amending the official plan to formally recognize the Wallaceburg South Side Secondary Plan.

Now adopted into Chatham-Kent’s official plan, the move paves the way for people-friendly development in an area that’s experienced steep economic decline for many years.

The plan encompasses 22 hectares of land bounded to the north by the Sydenham River, to the east by Murray Street, to the south by the Canadian National Railway corridor and to the west by McNaughton Avenue. The community’s museum and theatre are also located in the specified area, as well as the L.O. Stonehouse walking bridge that connects the south and north sides of the downtown core over the river.

Future uses in the area could see upwards of 200 to 250 new residential units – both affordable and market rent – built within the scope of the plan. This includes apartment developments on Minnie Street.

Wallaceburg Coun. Aaron Hall voiced his support for the plan, noting there’s an opportunity to create one of C-K’s “absolute gems,” allowing the area to realize its full potential.

Hall said it “puts a stop” towards continued decline and “begins carving a new path forward for this portion of the south side.

“My hope with this plan is for this document to not gather dust on a shelf,” he said, adding he hopes it’s an “active” document the municipality will keep working on. “I’m really excited about this project and next steps.”

Wallaceburg Coun. Carmen McGregor echoed Hall, saying she too is excited about moving forward.

The south side plan sets land use policy for the area and is designed to spur revitalization. It was put in motion about five years ago, but progress was slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the process has incorporated extensive stakeholder engagement, including a well-attended public meeting held last fall at the Wallaceburg Legion.

Two deputations on the matter were heard at council.

Peter Allaer, who owns property abutting the proposed parkland, told council he thinks the greenspace is too large and may infringe on his rights to develop his land, saying the plan makes his “footprint” smaller.

Tony Myers of Wallaceburg also spoke to the south side plan, praising it as an opportunity to create a “peaceful and tranquil” shared space at the river’s edge, noting the new approach will boost tourism and boating.

Next steps include creating a task force specific to the development.

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