Kenora’s City Councillors will be spending nearly $1,000,000 to start the process towards redeveloping Kenora’s Harbourfront and Greenbelt in 2022.

Councillors accepted a $952,300 plus HST proposal for the Harbourfront redevelopment’s design work last week, submitted by KGS, HTFC Planning and Design and Number TEN Architects. The City is contributing $255,000 towards the work, with $50,000 coming from the Municipal Accommodation Tax.

The City did apply for additional funding support to tender the designs, including $325,000 from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, $325,000 from FedNor and $20,000 from a Tourism and Economic Development Recovery Grant.

Next, as long as the funding support is accepted and received by Kenora, capital work is planned to begin in McLeod Park and Husky’s Landing in 2022.

Kenora’s Harbourfront Business Development Plan of December 2019 states the redevelopment of Kenora’s Harbourfront area could reach over $25 million and could include 13 separate project phases, transforming the area into a four-season attraction.

The report states possible work could include:

- Improvements to McLeod Park, the Pier, the Greenbelt and Husky’s Landing,
- Additional parking spaces, docks, play spaces and natural areas,
- A gathering circle and picnic area, pond hockey, a pool and a sauna area,
- The development of a new restaurant, bar and condominium,
- A pedestrian “woonerf” – meaning a shared road for pedestrian use,
- Ground and water shuttle services,
- Additional events under the Whitecap,
- Indigenous learning opportunities and inclusivity,
- Additional surveillance,
- Complete occupancy of the Harbourfront’s commercial spaces,

Additional work not included in the $25 million estimate would include capital work related to the intersection of Water Street, Bernier Drive and Second Street South. The City first began looking at the work in 2016, but initially passed due to the project’s associated costs – estimated at the time to be $3 million.

The City did receive two other proposals for the design work, including one for over $1.1 million and another tender for $671,000. Staff said the accepted proposal fit best with their strategic goals and project goals for the Harbourfront.

One of those goals included increasing the amount of parking available in the Harbourfront centre area, as, after a study in 2019, the City found that around 70 per cent of Harbourfront parking is not available to visitors and casual parkers, as most are leased.