City not ditching new dock plan - yet

The City of New Westminster has no immediate plans to undertake dock improvements on the waterfront but isn't ditching the concept forever.

Several years ago, the city negotiated gaming funding, known as development assistance compensation, which provided $5 million for parkland improvements in Queensborough, $35 million for a multiuse civic facility in the downtown, $6.2 million for expansion of facility at Queensborough Community Centre, $4 million for riverfront dock and facility improvements and $10 million for a Queensborough/water-front pedestrian bridge.

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Last year, the city received approval to reallocate $8 million from the pedestrian crossing and dock improvement projects to the Anvil Centre project. The city has since dropped plans for dock repairs in front of Fraser River Discovery Centre so $6.2 million is now available for the crossing.

Lisa Spitale, the city's chief administrative office, said the city wouldn't be able to proceed with a pedestrian crossing between the Quay and Queensborough, without the DAC funds, but believes there may be other opportunities to help fund dock improvements on the waterfront.

Earlier this year, members of city council questioned Port Metro Vancouver officials about a marina on New Westminster's waterfront.

"They said they had some grant funding. We are still following up on that," Spitale said. "We haven't lost that."

Spitale stressed that public consultation would be an important part of any plans for a marina on the waterfront.

"We still want to look at what the port authority's grant program would provide in the way of marine or maritime activity and proceed from there," she said. "We then want to go out into the community. When we think we have got some grant opportunities, we will go out into the community and get their feedback. I know in the past there has been concern from residents in the downtown about certain marinas and temporary moorages, looking at other issues like security. If we find there is funding there from the port authority, and we start getting a sense of what they will fund and what they won't fund, and what the community needs are, that will be part of the consultation process."

When Port Metro Vancouver officials attended a city council meeting earlier this year to discuss a coal proposal on its Fraser Surrey Docks property, council members inquired about its previous plan to help fund a marina near the Quay. In 2003, the port authority approached the city about building a 30-metre (100 foot) long marina on city-owned property on the waterfront, providing a place where boats could dock during the day.

City council unanimously rejected the plan after Quayside residents voiced concerns about the dock being close to their homes, and about the potential noise, air pollution and nuisance concerns it could create.

Tom Corsie, Port Metro Vancouver's vice president of real estate, told council in February that the port authority was willing to invest about $100,000 in the project and was surprised at the community backlash. He said Port Metro Vancouver would be wiling to discuss the potential for a dock facility.

tmcmanus@royalcityrecord.com

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