Dan Krutsch

Town’s consultants reveal preferred option for Duffy’s lands

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The preferred option has been identified for the former Duffy’s lands.

Landmark Engineering Inc., the town’s consultants on the project, put forth their preferred option at sparsely attended open houses last Thursday afternoon and evening. Dan Krutsch, president of Landmark Engineers Inc., said the concept they brought forward includes a smaller amphitheatre, festival plaza and redesigned marina with 24-25 boat slips. It still includes a wharf that people could fish from.

Not included is a boat ramp, and while Krutsch acknowledged it is in a great geographical location, it is “problematic” as that location is in the downtown core. He said while there were those advocating for a boat ramp, they also heard complaints and concerns by business owners and others in the downtown area over the possibility of boat trailers being parked for several hours in front of stores and buildings.

Landmark Engineering Inc. presented its preferred option for the Duffy’s property at public open houses Oct. 18 at the Libro Centre.

Krutsch said the option was putting in a parking lot for boat trailers or “do something for the greater population of the town.”

The amphitheatre is recommended to be scaled back and be smaller than originally proposed, as well as being pointed out towards the Detroit River. The ground would be slightly sloped for people viewing entertainment. The site would also still have festival space that could be used separately or in conjunction with the amphitheatre. The wharf could also be used for such things as tall ship festivals or similar events.

There could also be a building with showers, washrooms and other amenities for boaters.

Landmark Engineering Inc. held an open house in August and solicited feedback from that as well.

“We had a pretty mixed response from a lot of different people,” said Krutsch.

The entire project is estimated to cost between $7-$7.5 million, and possibly up to $8 million if construction costs trend upward. Plaza site works are pegged between $2.5-$3 million, shoreline improvements would be $400,000-$500,000, the marina could cost $2.5-$3 million with costs for structures estimated to be between $1.5-$2.5 million.

Public consultations for Duffy’s property include two more options

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Public input was gathered on a class environmental assessment for the Duffy’s property with two other options also presented for the land’s future.

Town staff and consultants from Landmark Engineers Inc. presented afternoon and evening open houses last Wednesday in the Libro Centre’s community room. Dan Krutsch, president of Landmark Engineers, said it was the first of two sessions in which the public will be invited.

The new option allowing for boat trailer parking and boat ramp.

“We are presenting the information we know about the site,” he said.

The two additional options that were developed involve some of what has been suggested by members of the community. One of the options includes allowing boat trailer parking exclusively on the site along with a boat ramp and marina. The second of the new options calls for a passive park with marina and no boat ramp.

The original option, with amphitheatre, festival plaza and marina, was also featured.

The public was invited to provide comments on the process, including the three options. Krutsch said the opportunity to provide comment is still available as they look to develop the property in the fashion that the residents and council want.

The “active” option featuring an amphitheatre and festival plaza.

“What we’re trying to show is that it’s hard to have everything on the property,” said Krutsch.

The next public meeting is planned for late September at which point a “preferred option” will be presented to the community. All comments from the second drop-in centre will be reviewed and used to help refine the preferred solution with the engineering firm adding that the project website will then be updated and a notice will be published. The notice would alert the public that a 30-day public review period for the Class EA has commenced.

It would be after that when council would discuss design and construction components of the process.

Approvals would still have to be gained from various agencies and governing bodies before any plans can move forward, Krutsch added.

As for environmental issues on the site, Krutsch said there are no significant problems that currently need addressing.

The “passive” option for the Duffy’s site.

“There’s no major issues we’re struggling with on the site,” he said.

The plans and the Powerpoint presentation that was made at the Aug. 8 meeting are available on the town’s website at www.amherstburg.ca under “Environmental Plans and Reports.” Leading administrative efforts from the town’s perspective at last Wednesday’s meeting was director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin.

People can also submit their thoughts to lmichaud@landmarkengineers.ca.

Public feedback gathered on proposal for Duffy’s land

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

With Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn in the process of being torn down, the town held a public consultation session to gauge what the public thinks of redevelopment plans.

The public consultation session was held last Thursday evening at the Libro Centre where people got a chance to view the renderings of the plans the town has developed for the waterfront property.

“Nothing has been set in stone,” CAO John Miceli pointed out, stating the purpose of the meeting was simply “the start of a conversation.”

The concept plans developed by the town and its consultant – Dan Krutsch of Landmark Engineering – were on display around the community room with a 500-seat amphitheatre, marina, boat ramp, fishing wharf, service buildings and plazas among the proposals put forth. Miceli said the town wanted to bring those plans to the public to see if that is what citizens want and if there are any changes desired to what has been proposed.

Duffy's consultation2WEB

Members of the public view concept drawings for what the Duffy’s property could look like during a June 15 meeting at the Libro Centre.

While additional public meetings are planned, Miceli said he would like to see the town move forward on the project later this year.

“My goal is to have it presented as part of the 2018 capital works budget,” he said.

Costs range from $5 million to $6.5 million and by moving along with the process, it allows the town to pursue grant funding. Final costs will be determined once all the components of the project are decided upon.

Timing for how fast the project will be completed centres around cash.

“It really is going to depend on funding,” he said.

Local resident Pat Catton questioned where boat trailers would park. While there is space for boat trailers on the drawings, Miceli acknowledged previous concerns about boat trailer parking and congestion when the Duffy’s boat ramp was open. There may be opportunities for boat trailer parking, though Miceli noted some opportunities were a bit farther away than the town desires.

“We’re hoping to hear from the boaters to hear what they have to say,” said Miceli.

A relocated Boblo ferry dock being included in the drawings was also a source of questions. Krutsch explained that moving it would allow for owner Dominic Amicone to be able to better develop his lands. The wharf would also help shield the dock from ice.

Pat Catton and Gord Freeman review drawings of the proposed Duffy’s  redevelopment last Thursday evening at the Libro Centre.

Pat Catton and Gord Freeman review drawings of the proposed Duffy’s
redevelopment last Thursday evening at the Libro Centre.

Catton wondered why the town would have to partner with a private property owner but Krutsch replied that there is no need to partner with anyone and that it was added in case some kind of partnership was of interest. Miceli noted preliminary talks have taken place with Amicone.

No programming decisions have been finalized, Miceli noted, adding his belief the development could boost the downtown core. It could act as a “festival plaza” and boost the area.

“This was the vision that allowed us to go ahead with acquiring the property,” said Miceli.

The town’s Official Plan calls for the acquisition of waterfront lands when they become available. He believes there will be at least an eight to 12 month approval process before anything could be developed.

Susan Whelan asked about the number of studies that have been done on the site, noting there haven’t been any major developments there for many years. Fuel was also used on site in the past, she added. She said she supported making the site beautiful and intertwining it with the neighbourhood but wanted assurances the land was checked out.

The land and existing buildings were assessed by Golder Associates, Miceli replied, and that the purchase price of the property was reduced to deal with some of the issues found.

“Most of the issues are in the older portion,” Miceli noted, in reference to the restaurant portion, which has not yet been demolished.

Food truck owner Carolyn Parent asked about such vehicles in the development, with Miceli saying his vision is for special events. Krutsch pointed out that could simply be one use of the site, with craft shows, tents and other events also possible.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the concept plans are the current ideas the town has come up with.

“This is the culmination of what we’ve been doing up to now,” he said.

PowerPoint Presentation

DiCarlo said there are limitations on what Navy Yard Park can be used for due to its passive nature and while there are events at Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada, there are restrictions there too. Downtown businesses also have voiced concerns that they have difficulty pulling people from Fort Malden so having festival space downtown could translate into more businesses gaining customers.

The town wants “one fluid plan” on how to develop the area, he added. The biggest thing the mayor said he has heard is about how fast the land could be developed.

Local real estate agent Ron Deneau congratulated the town on “one of the best purchases you ever made.” He believed the land being acquired for the money the town paid for it (final price being $1.115 million) “will be looked at as one of the nicest purchases you ever made.”

Local resident Paul Pietrangelo was in favour of the development.

“I love the idea,” he said. “I think it’s beautiful.”

Pietrangelo joked that “I hope I can see it before I die.”

Noting his love of Navy Yard Park, he added the Duffy’s land would be a good complement to that.

“It’ll bring a lot of people to Amherstburg even more,” he believed.