...Now for the Rest of the Story
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'Port Place' @ Port Dalhousie

Since 'Port Place' has been approved it seems counter productive to dwell on any down side of this new development. Predicated on reality The Niagara Winners Circle is content to look ahead at the possibilities proffered by the finished complex and what it might hold for Port Dalhousie and the rest of St. Catharines.

During our research for the cover of our spring issue newsletter {shown Below} regarding the effects that
the Port Place development might have on the business portion of our beloved Port Dalhousie, we have formulated following observations...

A.The public will not lose access to the beach and the park.
B.Port Dalhousie is not being levelled.
C.No heritage buildings are being demolished.
D.Access by the public through the development area will not be blocked.
E.Parking and traffic problems will not be worsened.
F.A sea of high rise buildings will not now grow out of Port Dalhousie.

In fact:

1. Public access to the beach and park will be enhanced by improvements to the parking lot and traffic lanes.  The development is not being built on public land but on private land that has been in private ownership for over a century.  No green space is being sacrificed.

2.  Port Dalhousie, as we now view it, will remain largely intact.  The only buildings that will be demolished and replaced by new buildings are those 1950's buildings on the N/W corner of Lock and Main and the Port Mansion (which was rebuilt in the early 1980's.)  All adjacent buildings from the Spice of Life on Lock St. to the Murphy Building and around the corner to Delyla's Pizza will remain untouched.

3.  The buildings on the site which are considered by the City and heritage experts to be heritage buildings will all remain and be restored for adaptive reuse.  This includes the Lakeside Hotel (My Cottage) and the Old Jail.  The Port Mansion will be replaced to resemble the earlier two hotels that occupied this site.

4.  Central to the development will be a public courtyard accessible by anyone at any time.  Access through this courtyard will be provided by a stairway and by an elevator in the south-east section of the courtyard.  In addition, access will be possible through some of the buildings themselves such as the theatre and the hotel.

5.  Parking and traffic in Port Dalhousie's commercial core has been described as a "nightmare" for over a decade.  But this only applies to summer weekends.  The rest of the time there is plenty of parking and the traffic flows through.  Summer weekend evenings are the worst due to the many patrons of the licensed establishements.  As a result of the Port Place development, the licensed capacity on site will be reduced by 70% and in the overall core area by 50%, thereby greatly reducing (and maybe even eliminating) the summer weekend nightime traffic and parking problem.  It is a fact that parking and traffic will be congested on summer weekends during the daytime, particularly when there is an event scheduled such as rowing, carnival or a festival in the park.  The Port Place development will not solve this problem but, since it will be providing parking spaces underground and creating more parking spaces in the parking lot (without sacrificing green space) it will not aggravate the problem.

6.  The 17-storey high rise condo building has not set a precedent for similar high rise buildings.  The re-zoning and Official Plan ammendments apply only to this development site.  Any other development proposal in the commercial core would have to follow the same steps before approval would be granted.  The new 2005 Heritage Act would make this approval even tougher to obtain and planners have already intimated that a second development of similar scale in Port Dalhousie would not constitute good planning.
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