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LETTER: Midland Bay Landing rare opportunity to make 'every Midlander proud'

Current plan 'hardly a waterfront Utopia to be enjoyed by all,' reader says. 'Intangible and invaluable benefits all residents' could enjoy outweigh short-term economic gain
2021-10-23 - MLBDC (2)
Do we want a space where people walk the narrow waterfront path and say ‘What were they thinking?’ reader asks.

MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). This letter is in response to a recent story entitled MBL group brings in real estate partner to help select developer.

Dear Editor,

The purchase of the Unimin lands offered Midland residents a rare opportunity to take part in developing what could have been an amazing waterfront park to be shared by all residents and would act as a tourism economic driver in perpetuity.

A massive green space with multi-use trails, a splash pad, swimming areas, outdoor rink, a bandshell to host concerts and events, picnic areas for families are just some or perhaps all of the things this raw land could have been transformed into.

A space that would draw people from well beyond our local area. A space that would make every Midlander proud. A space that would benefit the local economy and especially our downtown merchants.

The current proposal for MBL is none of these things.

The supposed 25 per cent of public space is far removed from downtown or hidden amongst the condos and other proposed structures, hardly a waterfront Utopia to be enjoyed by all.

The mix of retail space and condos will benefit the fortunate few with the wealth to afford these luxuries. Most of these buyers I presume will not likely come from the Midland area. The short-term benefit to the economy will be far outweighed by the intangible and invaluable benefits ALL residents could have enjoyed.

As with other developments, the increased tax base has done nothing to do with lower tax rates, which continue to rise and make Midland a less desirable place to live.

The proposed retail space will damage our already fragile downtown business.

The report on the Unimin lands even acknowledges that “Participants in the engagement process were largely focused on the development of high-quality parks and open spaces along the waterfront.” Views that were obviously ignored.

All is not lost, with an election this year we have the opportunity to stop this monumental mistake. A referendum should be held and politicians should be held to account for their decision to support this monstrosity. Nine years have already passed so another delay in order to get this decision right is inconsequential.

Andrew Craig Walker