Chambre Wakefield-La Pêche – Annual General Meeting June 19, 2017

The Wakefield Chamber is holding its Annual General Meeting at the Community Centre on 19 June. This is your chance to join the board, sign up for a membership, renew an existing membership, propose new ideas for village cooperation and join in the work of the Chamber. Just like Wakefield, your Chamber is not your every day Chamber. As well as the usual Commerce orientation, common to all Chambers, your Chamber is also focussing on Arts and Tourism and Community to reflect the many faces of this wonderful village. Come and hear what has happened so far and what we want to do with your help and participation. This is a truly village effort.

We are looking for new members of the Chamber Board. Are you interested in helping to steer the Chamber? Do you have interests in Commerce, Arts, Tourism and/or Community? Do you have skills in websites, communications and media, fundraising, financial management, events management? Put your name in for election at the AGM. Submissions of interest should be received by the Chamber by 12 June, one week ahead of the meeting. Send your expression of interest to the President, Glen Foster, gfoster@magma.ca

A copy of the June 19th meeting agenda and the minutes of last year’s meeting are now available below:

Agenda – 2017

AGM_Draft_minutes 2016

Wakefield Parking Task Force Report

The Commerce Council of the Chamber has formed a task force to study the problem of finding adequate parking in Wakefield village.  Visitors and residents alike experience difficulty finding places to park near their destination when they visit the village core.  This is not only inconvenient and frustrating, but has an adverse effect on business, tourism and development in Wakefield.  The Task Force has now completed its draft report setting out an exhaustive list of possible solutions, and now seeks comment from Chamber members and the public before finalizing recommendations.

Please take the time to read the Wakefield Parking Task Force Draft Report and provide your answers to the following questions:

  • Do you agree with the general vision and policy underlying the Task Force’s approach? 
  • How would you assess the possible solutions?  Which ones are most important to do?  Which would you recommend not be done? 
  • Do you have other possible solutions to suggest?

Please send your comments by May 19 to info@cwlpc.ca so that the report can be finalized and shared with the Municipality and others.  Your input matters to make solutions happen!

How to grow your business through online selling

  • Feel like your business is missing out on e-commerce & online selling?
  • Interested in learning more?
  •  Whether you are just beginning or have some experience, this workshop is for you! 

The Wakefield – La Pêche Chamber and the Centre local de développement (CLD) des Collines are partnering to offer a three-hour primer workshop on the basics of e-commerce and selling online.  Online selling and e-commerce are the way forward for many businesses and the CLD has expertise in the area that can help you expand sales and marketing of your business.

WhenApril 24th, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Where:  Centre Wakefield La Pêche, Studio

Cost:  This seminar is being offered to our members at the special rate of $45 plus taxes = $51.64.  Non-members $65 plus taxes = $74.59.

Includes coffee, tea and refreshments.

This workshop will be presented in English with bilingual discussion.

Registration: You can register and pay online at the Centre Wakefield-La Pêche at https://centrewakefieldlapeche.ca/event-2509613, or send or drop off your cheque payable to Chambre Wakefield – La Pêche, along with your name and contact information, at the Centre Wakefield La Pêche at 38 ch de la Vallée de Wakefield J0X 3G0.  Please register by April 14. 

For more information, please contact us at info@chambrewakefieldlapeche.com.

Seminar Lead:  Nelson Picard, MBA, Senior Business Advisor, CLD des Collines will lead the seminar.  Nelson specializes in business and marketing, and has been involved in various online marketing initiatives since 1998.

What you will learn: The following will be covered in this 3-hour workshop:

  1. Online vs. Offline Selling
  2. Selling Online and e-Commerce
  3. Sales Process
  4. Client Identification
  5. The Best Offer
  6. Promotion
  7. Tech Side Of Online Business
  8. Financial Planning

CLD follow up services: By attending this workshop you will have automatic access to the CLD for follow-up expertise and mentoring as you move forward with your e-commerce plans. 

 Don’t miss out!

 This workshop is one in a series offered by Chambre Wakefield-Lapêche Chambre

Global Payments is a sponsor of this workshop

DRAFT Preliminary Design Concept Released!

The Project Steering Committee of the Wakefield Waterfront Revitalization Project (Canada 150) is pleased to release the preliminary design concept for the upgrades to the components of the existing infrastructure of the parks and waterfront. These drawings will be used to present the project and solicit comments and feedback from citizens of the Municipality of La Pêche. Note that as per the provisions of the agreements signed with the funding partners, upgrades are restricted to existing infrastructure as describe in the Project Components listed below.

Draft Concept Designs by Park:

Project Components: 

Municipal parks targeted for upgrades are Roquebrune (Turntable), Geggie and Peace plus a safe passage corridor from Peace Park through Rompre Park to the Wakefield LaPeche Centre.

  1. General parks improvements: clearing of trees, levelling, rehabilitation of the wooden retaining wall, repair of the fences, lookout refurbishment, improvement of the access to the water, fixed picnic tables and benches, lighting, etc.
  1. Replacement of current dock, rehabilitation of the existing pedestrian ramp, and asphalt resurfacing: the proposal includes the potential for expanding and upgrading a dock for non-motorized boats at the site of the current “Sisttie” dock, allowing improved public access. Dock size will be approximately 60 metres. 
  1. Improvements of the shoreline path: expansion of the existing pathway(s) to allow for safe, multi-use activity and the creation of a 200-metre boardwalk where land is too narrow to allow safe, multi-use passage.

The main objective is to unify the Wakefield Bay waterfront as a linear park and multi-use trail. The existing rail tracks are currently used as walking paths and need to be expanded and improved to allow pedestrians and cyclists in summer and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.  The rails will remain in place for the eventual return of the train.

Boardwalk

The railway path between the Jamboree store and Geggie park (about 700 feet or 200 metres) are a dangerous area for pedestrians and cyclists. A short cantilevered boardwalk will allow for multi-use by citizens, leave the tracks in place, and provide magnificent views of the bay and waterfront.

  1. Expanding, improving and resurfacing parking areas: there are limited public parking spaces associated with these parks and those that exist are not used properly because they are unpaved and without delineated spaces. This causes traffic congestion at various sites, improper parking and poses risks to pedestrians. Parking sites targeted for improvement are off Manse Rd and along Riverside Road in front of Roquebrune Park.
  1. Renovation of the washroom building located at Roquebrune Park: the current building does not meet citizen and visitor needs and must be expanded in size with a design that better integrates with the park and incorporates additional shelter.

NOTE: The project makes provisions to keep the railway tracks in place in the event the steam train should return. Refurbishment to Roquebrune Park takes into account this eventuality.  

Project Funding

Total project budget is $958,000 for infrastructure upgrades to Municipal parks and improved safe water access in the Wakefield sector of the Municipality of La Pêche.

TOTAL PROJECT VALUE WHEN ALL FUNDING IS COMMITTED including volunteer professional services offered in-kind by the Project Steering Committee and the Chamber: More than $1.2 million in 2017.

Committed funds to date and partnerships

  • Economic Development Canada – Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (committed to Dec. 31, 2017):             $479,000
  • Municipality of La Pêche (in principle): $379,000
  • Centre local de Développement – CLD: $ 50,000
  • Tourisme Outaouais (To Be Confirmed): $ 50,000

 

TOTAL:   $958,000

Public Information Sessions 

February 17: 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm, Centre Wakefield-La Pêche, Wakefield, QC

February 21: 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm, Basement of the Sainte-Cécile-de-Masham Church, Masham, QC

 

For information, please contact

Email us: wakefieldwaterfrontproject@gmail.com

Visit our website: www.cwlpc.ca and subscribe to our newsletter or blog for project updates

Follow us on Facebook: @WakefieldLaPecheChamber

Public Information Sessions on Wakefield Waterfront Project: February 17 & 21 2017

The Project Steering Committee of the Chambre Wakefield-La Pêche invites citizens of the Municipality of La Pêche to join us on Friday, February 17th at Wakefield-La Pêche Centre and on Tuesday, February 21st at the Ste-Cécile-de-Masham Church for an information session to present the Canada 150 – Wakefield Waterfront Renovation Project.

The project concept design will be presented by Dominick Meloche of DM. Design. This will be an opportunity to see firsthand the renovations and upgrades proposed for existing infrastructure in three waterfront parks including multi-use paths, parking and more. A Q&A with the designer and Project Steering Committee members will follow and attendees will have the opportunity to provide their comments on the project design concept.

When: February 17, 2017, 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm (doors open at 7:00 pm)

Where: Centre Wakefield-La Pêche, 38 ch de la Vallée de Wakefield, Quebec 

_____________________________________________________

When: February 21, 2017, 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm (doors open at 7:00 pm)

Where: Ste-Cécile-de-Masham Church, 1 route Principale E., Masham, QC

Information: wakefieldwaterfrontproject@gmail.com

Results of Municipal Council Meeting, February 6, 2017

The Wakefield-La Pêche Chamber would like to thank everyone who came out to show their support for the Wakefield Waterfront Revitalization Project this past Monday, February 6 at Municipal Council. There is clearly a great deal of support and enthusiasm for this project from citizens from all regions of the Municipality. We are proud to be a part of such a strong and dynamic community!

For the benefit of those who were unable to attend, Council voted unanimously to rescind the borrowing by-law for $370,000 over 25 years. In it’s place, Council approved the following:

The Municipality will allocate a total of $379,000 to the Wakefield Bay Revitalization Project. The funds will be made available as follows:

$149,000 from existing Municipal budget including:

  • $99,000 from the Parks and Recreation budget
  • $50,000 over 5 years from the Ward 6 (Wakefield) budget discretionary funds

$200,000 to be borrowed and repaid over 15 years.

  • The average cost per household will be approximately $4.08/ year for 15 years based on an average property value of $260,000.

$30,000 to be allocated from this year’s Ward 6 (Wakefield) discretionary funds.

It is important to note that as part of the Canada 150 initiative, Economic Development Canada will contribute $479,000. An additional $50,000 is expected to come from the CLD des Collines de l’Outaouais, and Tourisme Outaouais has also indicated they will contribute to the project. The total budget for the project is $958,000.

As a next step, Municipal Council will table the new borrowing by-law for $200,000 on Monday, February 20. If the by-law is approved, the project is expected to proceed as planned. It is still possible for the by-law to be challenged via a registry, and while we respect the democratic process, we hope by now the citizens of La Pêche better understand the benefits of this project for citizens of the entire community. We encourage your continued support at Municipal Council on February 20th.

We would also like to remind everyone to please attend our Public Consultation at the Centre Wakefield – La Pêche on Friday, February 17 at 7:30pm.

We thank everyone for their continued support and look forward working with you on this exciting community initiative!

 

 

 

A Letter from Counsillor Claude Giroux: Only Wakefield should pay?

In the January 25 edition of the Low Down, Mr. Pierre LeBel wrote that Wakefield should pay for its waterfront project alone.  He justifies this position by a number of statements that are erroneous.  This could have been avoided. Mayor Bussière and I offered Councillor Gervais to speak to the Comité des citoyens de La Pêche to provide the facts on this project. Our offer was declined. We were told that these were private meetings.  I take this opportunity now.

Mr. LeBel claims that only the Wakefield businesses would profit from this initiative. That is a point of view which does not consider the increase in property values and related tax revenues, the job opportunities linked to a more robust tourism offer which would employ not only individuals from the Wakefield ward but across the municipality.  Employment in Wakefield businesses is not only for Wakefield residents.

He mentions that the project consists of a floating boardwalk. The invitation to sign the registry, sent by le Comité des Citoyens to La Pêche residents asked to oppose the borrowing by-on the basis of `la construction de trottoirs flottants` (floating sidewalks ). This is false. There is no floating boardwalk or sidewalk contemplated in the project. Plans include a 200 meter cantilevered boardwalk.

He mentions the $400,000 borrowing by-law but does not mention that this sum is to match a $479,000 grant from Economic Development Canada (EDC). This grant may be lost if we cannot find the funds to match it. He says that the project is incomplete. He is unaware that the agreement with EDC and the Chambre Wakefield La Pêche is based on professional advice that identified the components of the project and a cost estimate which was the basis for the Canada 150 grant application to EDC. This leads to a design that will be submitted to public scrutiny via public consultations in February 2017. La Pêche residents will be invited to comment and provide input on the project.

He says that there is no budget.  There is a budget of $879,000. He would have also known, had he asked, that the total value of the project, when volunteer time is factored into the equation, is close to $1.2 million.  He indicates that the money would be transferred to the Chambre Wakefield La Pêche, implying a lump sum payment without any control or oversight by the Municipality. That is also erroneous. The agreement between the Municipality of La Pêche, and the Chambre provides for payment on the basis of invoices submitted and work done.  The project is not managed by the Chambre but by a Steering Committee of professionals (volunteers) featuring two engineers, one environmentalist and other professionals who have managed multi-million dollar projects.  Had Mr. LeBel asked, we could have told him that, to ensure municipal interests in this project, the Ward 6 councillor (me) is a member of the Steering Committee.

He is also wrong when he says that no environmental study was done. An initial environmental inventory was done last fall, setting the ground work for a more in depth environmental assessment to be done when the design and the engineering of the project are completed. One does not conduct an environmental assessment on a concept but on an actual design.  He then indicates that the assets would be transferred to the Municipality. He does not mention that the Municipality already owns the parks. The project would improve on, and add to, existing municipal infrastructure.  The Municipality would assume maintenance of the improved assets at an annual cost estimated at $4,000.  This includes the seasonal installation and removal of the non-motorised community dock, and the maintenance of the parks themselves. This is not entirely new money since the Municipality already maintains the parks.

Had we been invited to do so, Mayor Bussière and myself could have informed le Comité des citoyens that the project also includes a pathway to the Centre Wakefield-La Pêche along the creek and through the Louis Rompré Park to access parking, enhanced bathrooms in le Parc Roquebrune (Turntable Park) and a path for pedestrians and cyclists linking all three parks together for a safer access to the river and a more enjoyable experience of the waterfront. We could have told le Comité des citoyens all of this had our offer to participate in their discussions been accepted.  It is regrettable that the position of le Comité des citoyens is based on a body of erroneous facts.

Sadly, the notion that Wakefield alone pay for the revitalisation of the parks and shoreline may set a precedent across the municipality whereby projects in any ward could, henceforth, be paid by the residents of the ward where the work is being contemplated.  Is this desirable?  If this were the case not much would be done.

 

Claude Giroux
Councillor
Municipality of La Pêche
Ward 6

Wakefield Waterfront Project- Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the project?

The proposed project covers the refurbishment of infrastructure in parks along the Wakefield Bay Waterfront. The project includes key components in need of repair and upgrade such as toilets, parking, walkways, fences, water access, and landscaping along the waterfront of Wakefield Bay connecting Turntable, Geggie and Peace Parks. These upgrades will provide an opportunity to link and provide safe and secure access to these Municipal Parks and the Wakefield Bay waterfront. This Canada 150 project recognizes the importance of the history and heritage of the waterfront and will refurbish a community space, making it accessible to La Peche citizens of all ages as well as the growing number of tourists to the region.

The Wakefield Waterfront and Parks (Municipal lands) were already earmarked for upgrades according to Municipal plans adopted in 2016 {Special Planning Program, Wakefield Sector, Final Report, November 2016} With the Canada 150 funding, it allows the Municipality to complete this project at half the cost, with matching funding coming from the Federal Government if the project is completed in 2017. Should the project not move forward in 2017, the Municipality will bear 100% of the cost on any future improvements.

Q. How was the Wakefield Waterfront project developed?

Timeline:

May 2016:

  • An ad hoc committee of community members prepared a project proposal to refurbish the parks and water access along the waterfront of Wakefield Bay, La Pêche.
  • An application for funding for the parks and waterfront refurbishment was submitted by the Chambre Wakefield-La Pêche to Economic Development Canada’s (EDC) Canada 150
  • Community Infrastructure Program. The Chamber met the program requirements and eligibility criteria.
  • The proposal was also submitted to the Municipality of La Pêche to secure matching funding and obtain approvals to make the refurbishments to the existing infrastructure in Municipal parks along waterfront. The Municipality of La Pêche agreed in principle to provide matching funding in support of the project.

August 2016:

  • The Chamber received confirmation from EDC that the project funding proposal was approved and federal funds were secured for $479,000.

September 2016:

  • In consultation and exchange with EDC, the Chamber signed a contribution agreement with the federal government. The agreement outlines the program reporting and financing requirements, conditions for financing, and timetable for completion. The project must be completed by December 31, 2017, in accordance with the program requirements.

Fall-Winter 2016:

  • The Chamber created and mandated a sub-committee of qualified volunteer experts to manage and implement the project, with final oversight taken by the Chamber Board of Directors.
  • The Municipality of La Pêche, the Chamber and the Project Committee Chair worked cooperatively to develop a protocol for the project’s administration, financial management and implementation.

January 2017:

  • In January, 6 of 7 Municipal Councillors agreed to the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding with the Wakefield – La Pêche Chamber, for the implementation of the Wakefield Waterfront Revitalization Project.
  • On January 9th, 6 of 7 Municipal Councillors voted to support a resolution to borrow $370,000 for the Wakefield Waterfront Revitalization project. $30,000 of the matching funds committed to the project will be attributed from the Wakefield Ward budget of Councillor Claude Giroux.

Q. What is the total commitment of funding to the project to date?

  • The total funding committed to date is $879,000:
    • $479,000 from Economic Development Canada (Quebec Region) Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program
  • $400,000 from the Municipality of La Pêche
  • Note: an additional minimum of $250,000 in in-kind professional services related to project management and administration will be donated by Chamber and Steering Committee volunteers over the course of the project.

Q. How much will the project cost Municipal taxpayers?

The estimated costs to taxpayers in La Pêche for a household valued at $259,000 (Municipal average) will be less than five bucks ($5.00) per year for 25 years. That’s less than the cost of a beer or 2 Tim Horton’s extra-large coffees.

Q. How much will project maintenance costs be?

Maintenance costs for all parks and infrastructures in La Pêche are the responsibility of the Municipality. A preliminary concept design of the project will be presented to the citizens of La Pêche and a public consultation held on February 17th to gather community input and refine the plan. Based on the outcome of these consultations, a final design concept and work plan will be completed with all estimates of construction and maintenance costs properly assessed.

The concept design will make provisions to use materials that are high quality, low maintenance, durable and long lasting to keep future maintenance requirements as low as possible.

Q. How will the Chamber ensure there are no cost overruns?

All protocols and Contributions Agreements signed to date are based on a maximum budget of $879,000. These agreements are definitive in terms of the elements of the plan to be financed and allotted budget.

Q. Will the Municipal process to launch a referendum on the borrowing by-law delay the project?

All aspects of the project slated for completion in the first phase ie. consultation and project concept design, are proceeding according to plan. Revisions to both the existing project timeline and financing will be announced only if, and when necessary. We understand that the Municipality has support for this project from all Councillors except one, but that the misinformation on the project that was broadly circulated by this one opponent resulted in support for the registry requesting a Municipal wide referendum or abandonment of the borrowing bill in its current form. Other options to replace the financing offered through the original borrowing bill are being explored.

We respect the democratic process undertaken within the Municipality. The Chamber and its members are hearing from citizens and businesses from across the Municipality expressing their support for the project.

Q. Are there other sources of funding for the project?

The Chamber is seeking other sources of funding and support through partnerships within the community, region and province.

Q. How will the return of the train affect the project?

The project application for funding always made provisions to keep the tracks in place in the event that the train would return. Refurbishment to Turntable Park will consider this eventuality. Provisions will be made for two scenarios, a train that is operational and one that is static as a display. The project will accommodate either scenario.

Q. Who can apply to design and renovate the parks?

The Project Steering Committee has completed the Request for Proposals process seeking a qualified landscape designer to prepare an initial project concept. The RFP was public and open to design firms in the MRC des Collines. The contract for the development of the concept design has been awarded to Dominick Meloche of DM Designs, a highly qualified and well-known landscape designer with extensive experience in the Wakefield area.

Q. How will the environment be protected?

A preliminary environmental audit and report on the sites implicated in the project were completed in the fall of 2016, and no major environmental risks associated with the project have been identified at this stage. As part of the project requirements, a full environmental assessment will be undertaken and the project plan makes provision for this analysis.

Q How can citizens get involved?

The Chamber, through its Project Steering Committee, will be holding a public consultation to hear citizens’ views on the initial project design concept on February 17, 2017 at the Centre Wakefield-La Pêche from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm. There will be an opportunity to see design options and provide input on each aspect of the project. All input will be aggregated and incorporated into the final concept plan.

Q. How will this project benefit the Municipality of La Pêche, and not just Wakefield?

The improved infrastructure of the Wakefield Waterfront will provide safer, more friendly access to the waterfront for all citizens to enjoy.

The project intends to source local contractors and experts wherever possible in the MRC Des Collines. As the project moves forward, there will be opportunities to bid on construction and landscape work. The project encourages the stimulation of jobs and growth in the region.

With a safer, more appealing waterfront, improved parking and washrooms, we hope to attract more visitors to the region. Increased tourism translates into increased revenue for local business, but also allows for local business to grow and thrive. With this increase in growth, local businesses can hire more people, which translates into more jobs in the Municipality of La Pêche.

For information:

Contact the Chamber at: info@cwlpc.ca

Follow our Waterfront Revitalization Project Blog: https://cwlpc.ca/category/waterfront-project/

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WakefieldLaPecheChamber/

 

 

Wakefield-La Pêche Waterfront Refurbishment : Parks, Parking, Paths and Better Waterfront Safety will benefit all La Pêche residents!

The community volunteers of Wakefield Waterfront Refurbishment Project Steering Committee respect the outcome of the registry but regret that the campaign by M. Gervais and M. LeBel against this initiative was based on a misrepresentation of the facts of the project. M. Gervais has publicly and repeatedly characterized the scope of this entire project as financing “trottoirs flotants” (floating sidewalks) for Wakefield Bay.

In fact this project is about infrastructure repair and refurbishment and improvements to existing facilities such as toilets and parking. It includes the replacement of a small aging dock with one that will allow for safer water access for swimmers and non-motorized boats as well as necessary shoreline and environmental management work to remove invasive species such as poison ivy.

There is a plan to link the three existing parks along the shoreline with linear paths to enable both pedestrians and cyclists to use this one kilometre shoreline safely. In one small narrow section where the land available between the road and the water is not safe enough or wide enough for a multi-use path, it has been proposed that a very short, 200 meter boardwalk be constructed (700 feet). This small section of boardwalk is expected to be cantilevered off the bank of the bay and will not be floating. Options regarding the design of all of these elements will be presented at a public consultation to be held on February 17th at the Centre Wakefield-La Pêche.

Volunteers from the Wakefield – La Pêche Chamber of Arts, Culture, Tourism and Commerce were successful in securing $479,000 through a Canada 150 Infrastructure Grant from Economic Development Canada to support this project. The EDC grant requires matching funds for the project and to that end, a motion by the La Pêche Council to borrow $370,000 was passed with the support of 6 out of 7 Councillors. An additional $30,000 in matching funds will be attributed to the project from the Ward budget of Wakefield Councillor Claude Giroux, bringing the total contribution of the Municipality to $400,000.

By the time the project is completed on December 31, 2017, volunteers from the Wakefield Waterfront Steering Committee and the Wakefield-La Pêche Chamber, will have donated more than $250,000 worth of professional and project management services toward the success of this endeavour. Should its opponents succeed in aborting this project, this $650,000 in grants and in-kind services against the $400,000 investment by the Municipality would be lost. The deteriorating infrastructure on the Wakefield Waterfront would become an increasing liability requiring future repairs and intervention to ensure public safety with the Municipality bearing the full 100% burden of those costs.

 

“The average household tax across the Municipality for the project will be less than the cost of one beer per year!”

 

The opponents of this project argue this initiative should be paid for only by the taxpayers of Wakefield Ward through a “local improvement tax”, claiming they are the primary beneficiaries. This is an extremely parochial and short sighted perspective that would set an extremely dangerous precedent within the Municipality.

Had this same attitude been taken by other wards and Councillors a few years back, the Arena located in Masham, an important municipal asset for which all households in La Pêche pay a $40 annual tax, would not exist. The cost of future projects, such as the $400,000 that M. Gervais has requested from Council for improvements to the Théâtre de la Petite École in his ward of Lac Des Loups, would have to be born solely by the residents of Lac Des Loups, adding several hundred dollars to the tax bill of each Lac Des Loups household.

The approach that M. Gervais is promoting would doom any major community project conceived anywhere in the Municipality of La Pêche well into the future and result in a race to the bottom for this Municipality that no one will win, greatly jeopardizing the quality of life and future economic potential of this beautiful region for all its citizens.

Liane Benoit
Chair, Wakefield Waterfront Steering Committee

Celebrating our Heritage with Waterfront Improvements in 2017!

A highly successful and well attended event at the Wakefield Library on December 15, 2016 marked the official announcement of a $479,000 Canada 150 grant for the refurbishment of infrastructure and enhancement of the shoreline of Wakefield Bay. The community was honoured to welcome the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions to Wakefield to make this announcement. The project will be managed through the Wakefield-La Pêche Chamber of Community, Commerce, Tourism and the Arts. Mayor Robert Bussière, on behalf of the La Pêche Municipal Council, confirmed the Municipality’s support for the project with a matching pledge of $400,000, bringing the total funding to upgrade municipal lands in the Wakefield area to $879,000. With an additional contribution of $250,000 in in-kind support through professional services provided by the volunteer management team and Chamber Executive, this represents a value of $1.2 million in cash and in-kind to upgrade infrastructure and improve access and safety in the parks and river access points along the shores of Wakefield Bay.

Subject to public input and consultation, the refurbishment of local infrastructure is expected to include components such as toilets, parking, walkways and landscaping along the waterfront of Wakefield Bay and the establishment of linear paths for walking and biking to connect Roquebrune (Turntable), Geggie and Peace Parks. According to the agreement signed with Economic Development Canada, the project must be completed by December 31, 2017, which marks the end of the Canadian 150 funding program.

The project will build on past community and volunteer efforts that have created the three existing waterfront parks – Roquebrune (Turntable), Geggie and Peace park – to make the waterfront a community destination for the region and facilitate greater and safer accessibility for La Pêche residents of all ages.

Under the terms of the EDC Canada 150 Infrastructure Grant, project elements eligible for funding were limited to the upgrading and refurbishment of existing waterfront components and infrastructure.

The following five main elements were identified as eligible:

  1. General parks improvements: clearing of trees, levelling, rehabilitation of the wooden retaining wall, improvements of the swimming access, repair of the fences, lookout refurbishment, improvement of the access to the water, fixed picnic tables and benches, lighting, etc.
  1. Replacement of current docks, rehabilitation of the existing pedestrian ramp, and asphalt resurfacing: the proposal includes the potential for expanding and upgrading a dock for swimming and non-motorized boats at the site of the current “Sisttie” dock, allowing improved public access.
  1. Improvements of the shoreline path: expansion of the existing pathway(s) to allow for safe, multi-use activity and the creation of a boardwalk.

The main objective of this project is to unify the elements of the Wakefield Bay waterfront as a linear park and multiuse trail. The existing rail tracks are currently used as an informal walking path and need to be expanded and improved to allow for both pedestrians and bicycles in summer and cross-country skiing in winter. The railway clearing can form the basis for this path but this must be done in a way that enables the possibility of a return to operational use of the tracks for the steam train at some point in the future, while maintaining use of the trail at other times.

Boardwalk

A key challenge in connecting the parks is the narrow strip of land between the Jamboree building (740 River Road) and Geggie Park (approx. 700 feet). Walking is already difficult and expansion to include cycling as part of a multi-use path is impossible without structural improvements. It is proposed that a short boardwalk be built that would incorporate the tracks and allow for multi-usage, while giving residents and visitors magnificent access to the riverfront. This would be a signature component of the redevelopment.

  1. Expanding, improving and resurfacing parking areas: the village of Wakefield has limited public parking spaces and those that exist are frequently not used to their maximum potential as they are unpaved and without delineated spaces. Existing sites for improvement are located next to Manse and along Riverside road in front of Roquebrune Park.
  1. Renovation of the washroom building located at Roquebrune Park: the current building does not meet community and visitor needs and must be expanded in size with a design that better integrates with the park and incorporates additional shelter.

NOTE: The project makes provisions to keep the railway tracks in place in the event that the steam train should return. Refurbishment to Roquebrune Park will consider this eventuality.

Project Oversight

A Project Steering Committee, comprised of six volunteer members from the community are donating their time and management skills to implement the project. They have been meeting since September. Their work to date has resulted in:

  • The signing of final funding agreements with EDC and the Municipality of La Peche;
  • Initiation of the project, including establishment of all administrative, financial and reporting systems and protocols,
  • Completion of a required environmental audit of the waterfront.
  • Completion of a detailed survey of the project site (approx.. 1 kilometre);
  • Hiring of a part-time Executive Coordinator to support the Project Steering Committee;
  • Consultations with all waterfront business owners;
  • Development of an RFP and coordination of a competition to contract a qualified firm from the MRC des Collines to draft a project concept design for the project. On January 6th, DM Design of Chelsea, Quebec was awarded the contract to prepare designs for the renovations in the parks and areas targeted.
  • Planning of a public consultation for the Municipality of La Pêche on the initial concept design to be held at the Centre Wakefield-La Pêche on Friday, February 17, 2017.

For information: 

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