LaSalle Moving Forward with Waterfront Project Despite No Grant Help

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LaSalle council has voted to shoulder the cost of a waterfront transformation after being turned down for government funding.

The Small Coast Waterfront Experience carries a price tag of $50-million, but with no grant help, council has opted to break the project into several parts to reduce the impact on taxpayers.

Councillor Jeff Renaud tells AM800 News nothing is finalized just yet, but administration has been given direction to begin planning for the next phase which includes a number of elements like an outdoor festival area and event centre, new dock and boat launch and a pumping station at a cost of $18-million.

Renaud says council is looking forward to getting some feedback from the public.

"We've got some ideas, our planners have some ideas, but you know what? When it comes right down to it, it's going to be the people of the town's space," he says. "We want to make sure we get that as part of this because this is a really big project and we want to make sure we do it right."

According toRenaud, the town would fund the project the same way it handled the Vollmer Complex.

"We knew that if we didn't get this grant that this could be a 10 or 15 or even 20-year project, much like the Vollmer which is still a work in progress," he adds. "The Vollmer is still evolving 12-years later much like this project is going to have to continue to evolve over the years."

Renaud says with property already acquired along Front Road, it's time to move forward.

"There's never going to be a time where people say just blow and bank and do it," he says. "You have to make it fiscally responsible and I really do think that the plan that our financial people have put forward is very responsible and this is going to lead to something for generations to enjoy."

The town will now hold public consultations before final approval, but with the pandemic Renaud says those will be held online as opposed to the traditional town hall style.

If the next phase is given the go ahead, the cost would be spread over the next four years resulting in a tax increase of a half percent in 2021 and 2022 followed by 1% in 2023 and 2024.