The Brockville Railway Tunnel Committee continues to reach out to the community as the multi-million-dollar project moves forward and evolves.
Numerous community groups and organizations were invited to take part in discussions at city hall on Wednesday, April 12.
Although the restored tunnel is scheduled to open on Aug. 12 during the inaugural Rails to Trails Festival, plans for a three-acre parcel of land now owned by the city at the north end of the tunnel are being devised.
With the help of a government grant, the committee hired Mark Thompson Brandt Architect Associates of Ottawa earlier this year. Mark Brandt facilitated the stakeholder sessions in Brockville council chambers on Wednesday. The mid-afternoon discussion included representation from Brockville Farmers’ Market and the DBIA as well as the YMCA of Brockville and Area, Brock Trail and several performing arts and culture groups.
Brandt indicated that his team is in the data-gathering stage of the project. There will be at least two public consultation meetings down the road as plans for the tunnel park take shape.
The committee had put together a concept of what could be done with the area at the north end of the tunnel. In addition to providing sufficient space for vehicles and buses, other features being floated include a visitor kiosk and multi-use community facility.
David LeSueur, committee chair and Brockville councillor, noted at the meeting that the committee “threw ideas out there” and is now calling for input from the public. “We have to find out what the community wants up there,” he stated.
Many of the participants in the mid-afternoon discussion appeared to support the creation of the multi-use facility, although Brockville Culture Days facilitator Russ Disotell voiced concerns about how churches and other venues with meetings spaces are hurting these days and about how the city would be competing with the private sector.
There was also talk of a need for a more “intimate” venue for performances in Brockville.
In addition to providing public washrooms as well as ample space for parking, the consultants received input on the need for the park area to have features which promote active lifestyles while accommodating seniors and individuals for whom accessibility is a challenge.
Article by: Tim Ruhnke
Original article link available HERE