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Penetanguishene planner emphasizes 'no decisions made' on town dock project

Invitation gets extended to public to view workshop Wednesday on multi-million dollar rejuvenation plan
Slide design by Sajecki Planning. One conceptual draft of what Penetanguishene’s town dock could look like after the 15-year multi-million dollar rejuvenation project reaches completion. The draft plan presentation sparked concern with residents last month.

On Wednesday night, a special committee of the whole meeting will be held regarding the Penetanguishene town dock master plan and secondary plan, as various groups gather virtually to hammer out some details through a council and technical advisory committee workshop.

Andrea Betty, director of planning and community development, stated that through the grapevine of interactions and social media, the general feel from the public was that the town had rushed the project and that decisions had been made.

“We really wanted to emphasize that, no, we haven’t made any decisions and there’s nothing final yet. We’re still in a discussion point, and so if you have thoughts or comments, send them in.” Betty added that further consultation and study would happen over the summer months, but it wouldn’t be until around September before the next presentation could appear before council.

Town council heard from concerned residents last month when Sajecki Planning presented options for their draft vision of the 15-year, multi-million dollar project that aims to transform the town dock area at the bottom of Main Street into a welcoming hub for Georgian Bay residents and visitors.

Of those who spoke up, the business most affected by the rejuvenation project would be the World Famous Dock Lunch, which sits directly in the heart of the development area.

“The thing about Penetang is that we’re a jewel here,” said Nick Boudouris, owner of the Dock Lunch.

Coming into summer of 2021, Boudouris was proud to show off the renovations he had made to the outdoor accommodations to his sheltered patio dining area along the waterfront, access to interior serving stations, and a small area of shaded tables adjacent to the dock’s launch ramp.

“I know planners can put in different things, but I think they see things with a different view. What might look good on paper might not make good business sense.

“We just spent money on Main Street; millions of dollars there. Some things needed to be done, but I don’t think we (downtown businesses) can take too much more of a hit again,” Boudouris stated.

Betty said that with council, consultants and the technical advisory committee, seeing what can be pulled together to meet everybody’s needs will play a large role. 

“I don’t say we’re going to satisfy everybody,” Betty admitted, “but we do need some directions in a few pieces that have become critical to the town.”

While areas of concern such as parking and the boat launch have become the focus of conversations in the past, Betty further stated that this week’s open conversation with council is anticipated to branch out in all kinds of ways during the talks.

“We first have to decide on a plan, so we haven’t even got there yet. So until we have a plan and start putting together a rebuild, there won’t be much of a change.”

Betty isn’t convinced that the proposed development will introduce great change to Penetanguishene as a whole. “It’s not like we’re introducing a whole bunch of commercial land uses down there.” 

“The idea is to be supporting downtown, not competing with downtown,” Betty assured.

Boudouris emphasized that if the rejuvenation project was to get off to a good beginning, “then we need to plant roots now. Time goes fast.”

Details about the town dock secondary plan and master plan can be found on the Connect Penetanguishene website

Members of the public wanting to watch the meeting are invited to view the town of Penetanguishene’s YouTube channel where it will be broadcast live, starting at 6:00 p.m. Council wishes to remind the public that no decisions are being made at the meeting.

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Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Derek Howard covers Midland and Penetanguishene area civic issues under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada.
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