NEWBORO AND PORTLAND HARBOUR REDVELOPMENT PLANS

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1 INTRODUCTION The Municipal docks in both Newboro and Portland were transferred to the Township of Rideau Lakes by Parks Canada in Little has been done to improve the docks physical condition or role in the two communities. Designation in 2007 of the Rideau Canal System as a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage site, and awareness that both village harbours could make a better cultural and economic contribution, led the Township to prepare concept plans for both harbours. While the municipal docks in each village are the most tangible interface with their respective lakes, the approach has been to look for opportunities to improve not only the dock s function, but also to better connect the communities with their waterfronts. The recommended plans are the result of on-site meetings with members of the Township Planning Committee, four meetings with the Planning Committee and public open houses in both villages. Recommendations are customized to the opportunities and needs of each village and are presented as separate sections of this report. NEWBORO WATERFRONT EXISTING CONDITIONS The village docks at Newboro are located at the foot of Lock Road adjacent to the Newport Lock station. Lock Road is a two-lane paved road descending down the hill from the village to Newboro Lake. There are two boathouses at the foot of Lock Road that are in dilapidated condition, and the village docks located to the south are obviously beyond their service life. The parking lot is poorly defined with many empty boat trailers stored in the central turn-around island. The driving aisle of the parking lot is paved, however the parking spaces are gravel. While the Lock station is not far away, the buildings are not within sight and the path and signage could easily be overlooked. Long-term residents of Newboro recall active use of the Lock Station property for swimming and special occasions such as the Water Days Festival, but this activity has fallen off in recent times, particularly with the relocation of the swimming area to a shallow, weedy part of the shoreline. The Lock Station is physically removed from the village core, and is not directly accessible by land, from By or Water Street

2 Similarly, the village is not visible from Newboro Lake or the Lock Station, so that boaters transiting the Canal System have no sense of its presence or accessibility when arriving by water. At one time, there were docks lining the canal near the Highway 42 Bridge, however these have long since been removed and Parks Canada does not wish to see docks in this location as they have concerns that it would make the channel too narrow given the large size of contemporary boats using the system. The docks are primarily rented seasonally with little short-term or overnight use, despite probable overflow demand from Newboro Lock Station that had the highest overnight visitation, (1124 on the canal system in 2008). While there are washrooms at the Newboro Lock Station, there is limited docking capacity and no water or electrical service connections. NEWBORO DOCKS EXISTING CONDITIONS - 2 -

3 CONCEPT ALTERNATIVES Two concepts were prepared for the Newboro Village docks and are differentiated by the dock layout relative to the location of the existing launch ramp remaining in place or being reconstructed at the foot of Lock Road. Concept 1 would use, or replace, the existing launch ramp with the adjacent dock having no slips on the existing side to allow for queuing of launching boats. This arrangement would require vehicle and trailer circulation around the existing parking lot to facilitate backing-up to the ramp. Additional docks could be added adjacent to the Parks Canada property, however, the launch ramp and associated activity would bisect the docks. Concept 2 is preferred as the boat launch ramp would be relocated to the foot of Lock Road, allowing vehicles and trailers to circulate around an island separated from the parking. This arrangement would allow for reconfiguration to accommodate as many cars as possible with a more compact and organized layout. Both concepts include vehicles and/or boat trailer parking up Lock Road in the Township owned right-of-way and possibly extending onto Parks Canada property

4 RECOMMENDED CONCEPT The recommended concept includes the docking arrangement in Concept 2, and adds several linkages and land acquisition recommendations to connect the village and Parks Canada lands better, as well as possibly provide a village waterfront park. The component areas would work together and are described below. RECOMMENDED CONCEPT - NEWBORO DOCKS POTENTIAL WORK ON PARKS CANADA AND NEARBY LANDS - 4 -

5 Village Docks Remove the existing boathouses and relocate the boat launch ramp to the foot of Lock Street. The adjacent dock should not have slips on the north side to allow for launch and removal queuing activity. A shade structure or tower should terminate the end of this dock, making it a distinctive landmark enabling Rideau Canal boaters to find the village docks, and draw pedestrians out to the end of the dock for viewing, sitting, fishing and the like. Seasonal slips sized appropriately for the range of boat sizes (small, medium and pontoon boats), using the existing docks should be located towards the launch ramp side. If there is an office, and/or washroom building it should be located beside the launch ramp so that it is easily found from the Lock Road approach. Slips for overnight boats should be sized to accommodate the typical cruiser size of Rideau Canal transit boats and possibly provide electricity, and water hook-ups at each slip. There should be low level lighting on the docks for safety and security. A wide boardwalk, linked to the shoreline path at each end should provide pedestrian connection past the docks, seating, as well as access to the docks themselves. NEWBORO DOCKS RECOMMENDED PLAN - 5 -

6 Parking Lot The parking lot should be rationalized to provide space for a through aisle and cars without trailers. A turn-around loop linking to Lock Road should cut through the existing parking island to facilitate queuing and three-point turn movements to and from the ramp without obstructing parking. Rules of use for parking, including direction to the trailer parking lot should be clearly displayed. Trailer parking should be prohibited in this parking lot area and restricted to the new upper boat trailer parking area. Boat Trailer Parking A secure compound and parking lot should be provided on the road allowance lands that extend southwest from the corner of Lock Road. This may require negotiation with Parks Canada to provide sufficient width for a perimeter loop aisle with angled stalls long enough for boats and trailer, or seasonal trailer storage compound. Waterfront Land Acquisition Should waterfront land become available for purchase the Township should consider acquisition in two locations; the outside elbow of Water Street and on the east bank of the Rideau Canal north of the County Road 42 Bridge. The Water Street location would allow for better connection to the Village of Newboro Lake as there is currently no public water frontage in this area of the village. The east bank of the canal is currently owned by Parks Canada and the Township should seek to improve the area to allow a better visual and functional connection from the village core to the canal. Path Connections The existing pathway at the top of Lock Road should be completed down the hill to the docks. A separate path should be provided to link across Parks Canada property, to and from, the proposed trailer parking lot to the dock areas. As one of the main roads in Newboro, Lock Road should be improved with a better pedestrian connection and streetscape elements such as pedestrian lighting, defined parking signage and landscape. A second loop could also be created on Parks Canada Land from the Newboro Lock Station west and north along the Rideau Canal and up the hill to link with the existing Lock Road pathway, and possibly under the Highway 42 Bridge and east from the Rideau Canal, parallel to County Road 42 to Main Street

7 Another desirable waterfront path would connect the elbow of Water Street with the village docks. This may be a long-term objective to be negotiated over time as redevelopment of the private lands along Newboro Lake occurs. SKETCH VIEW OF NEW DOCKS WITH BOARDWALK LINKING PATHS ALONG THE WATERFRONT - 7 -

8 PORTLAND WATERFRONT EXISTING CONDITIONS Despite it s location on Big Rideau Lake, Portland does not have a strong visual connection to the water, nor do the village docks have a clear municipal presence when approaching from the Lake. While the ends of both Campbell and Main Street are open to the Lake, these offer relatively narrow vistas, and in the Main Street circumstance, might be confused for private property. The poor condition of the docks and unprofessional character of the sign kiosks do not provide a very positive impression to tourists or cottage visitors to the village, and certainly fall short of expectations of a World Heritage Site. ADDRESSES - 8 -

9 EXISTING CONDITIONS Similarly, while Hanna Park does have a sign, its relatively narrow width and undeveloped character does not convey the message of public accessibility. Access to the docks from Water Street is very narrow and views of the water are screened by a cedar privacy hedge on the adjacent private property. There are few clues to direct first time visitors from either land or water to the waterfront, or to the public docks. While there are several routes to Water Street, aside from the name, there is no obvious water s edge association. Similarly approaching from Big Rideau Lake it becomes unclear, which of the various docks in the bay are public

10 An additional observation is the poorly defined Community Centre parking lot at the corner of Water Street East and Campbell Street. The street corner radius is larger than other intersections allowing for faster driving speeds. The undefined edges of the parking lot and expanse of asphalt are out of keeping with the scale and character of the village. On-street parking of cars with boat trailers has become an issue, particularly to merchants who are concerned that this displaces customer parking. The existing docks are primarily rented seasonally with few spaces available for short-term and overnight visits. Portland s location, off to the side of the main route, between Rideau Canal locks reduces the demand for overnight docking and the low numbers do not warrant full-time staff to manage dock rentals

11 ALTERNATIVE CONCEPTS A series of alternative concepts were developed that would: Animate and articulate the waterfront; Convey the message that the municipal docks are public, from both the water and land; Improve the functional layout of the docks, including providing a breakwater and pier large enough for tour boats; Improve a swimming area and improve direct connections to the existing, or future, Community Centre for access to washrooms, day camp programs etc. and; Improve way-finding clues to link Highway 15 to the waterfront. The alternatives also explored potential acquisition or disposal of property to better consolidate the existing separated parcels of land owned by the Township, as well as facilitate phased implementation

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16 RECOMMENDED CONCEPT While several of the alternatives explored acquiring and disposing of Township owned property, the recommended concept utilizes only property currently owned by the Township. The component parts of the concept work together to provide clear identity of the waterfront as public facilities, as well as support a range of activities, as described below:

17 Existing Docks Given the narrow land connection and poor condition of the existing docks, the recommendation is to replace them at Hanna Park. While the existing docks are in poor condition, they remain a viable location for seasonal slip rentals that could be managed by the Township, sold, or leased to a private operator. RECOMMENDED CONCEPT Main Street and Water Street East and West The addition of sidewalks and heritage style pedestrian lamps on Main Street and both sides of Water Street would provide wayfinding clues to link Highway 15 with the waterfront. Lamps might be multiple headed, or raised on masonry bases to have more prominence at Highway 15, as well as the Water and Main Street intersection

18 Main Street Right-of-way Addition of a defined cul-de-sac turning bulb and street trees north of Water Street would clarify Main Street right-of-way as a public property. SIDEWALKS AND HERITAGE LAMPS ALONG MAIN STREET SIDEWALKS AND HERITAGE LAMPS AT WATER AND MAIN STREET INTERSECTION Hanna Park Hanna Park would be more inviting to visitors, and work better support for events with the addition of a small plaza, pedestrian lights, improved identity signage, shade trees, and a gazebo or shade structure. These elements would clearly identify this as a public park, as well as facilitate special events, with the close support of the community centre. The adjacent properties should be well buffered with fences and planting. This location is also well suited for new township Docks, as they would be very clearly visible from Water Street East, and the park would enhance the docks for waterborne arrival. The purpose of these docks would be primarily for short-term docking for visitors to the village potentially including tour boats. A large pier and breakwater at the farthest end of the docks would facilitate larger tour boats. This large dock should include a shade structure or gazebo as a destination for people to walk out on the docks, as well as to create a distinctive landmark for boaters approach from Big Rideau Lake

19 The character of the various dock elements should be an architectural family reflecting the heritage of Portland Village and convey a sense of quality to first time visitors. This family of similar elements should make reference to local architectural materials, colours, and forms. VOCABULARY OF PUBLIC ELEMENTS Cataraqui Trail CONCEPT 2: HANNA PARK AS HARBOUR AND EVENTS SPACE The Cataraqui Trail is located along an abandoned rail corridor that passes south of Portland Village. Signage leading to the trail by way of Harlem Road and Portland Station road would inform people interested in walking a loop or section of the trail. Signs at Harlem Road and Portland Station road would inform trail hikers that they are close to the village. USE SIGNAGE TO IDENTIFY WALKING LOOP TO CATARQUI TRAIL

20 Long-Term Potential While there is opportunity to optimize the functions of swimming, docks, a municipal event park, community centre, and parking on lands currently owned by the Township, the proposed arrangement is somewhat confined and disjointed. Should opportunity ever arise to acquire either or both the private lots between Hanna park and the Campbell Street right-of-way this would significantly consolidate and improve both function and presence of the public waterfront. LONG-TERM POTENTIAL TO EXPAND WATER- FRONT PARK AS ADDITIONAL LAND BECOMES AVAILABLE

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