Vision for Harbour Passage Reversing Falls & Harbour Passage West Unveiled
For Immediate Release - October 21, 2004
(Saint John, NB) –The Saint John Waterfront Development Partnership held a Public Input Session today to reveal it’s designs for the continuation of the Harbour Passage waterfront trail to Reversing Falls and Prince Street West.
The public was invited to watch a presentation by the designer of the Passage, Daniel Glenn of Daniel K. Glenn Landscape Architects and Park Planners, who designed Phases I and II as well as the proposals for the newest sections of the trail.
Members of the Harbour Passage volunteer working group were also on hand to answer questions on the proposed continuation of the trail and to gather feedback from the members of the community that came to see the designs.
“We are very pleased to see that community interest in Harbour Passage is still very high”, said Harbour Passage Working Group Chair, Bill Butler. “This section of the trail will connect the west side to the downtown and will allow easy access to the Reversing Falls on a very pedestrian friendly trail.”
Bill MacMackin, President of the Waterfront Development Partnership agrees that taking the trail to Reversing Falls is critical. “The significance of Reversing Falls to the Tourism industry in Saint John can’t be underestimated. Tourism statistics gathered over the last several years make it clear that Reversing Falls is a premier tourist attraction for visitors to the city. Last year alone the Visitor Information Centre at Reversing Falls had over 200,000 visitors from Cruise ships, motor coachs, as well as individual tourists and that number is expected to grow this year with the increased number of cruise ships visiting Saint John. Clearly we need a viable route for pedestrians to walk along our beautiful inner harbour to the Falls.”
The mandate for the conceptual design of the next phase(s) of Harbour Passage consisted of designing a trail with the general boundaries being:
- Chesley Drive route to Reversing Falls Tourist Bureau
- Reversing Falls Tourist Bureau to Prince Street crossing lands owned by City or Province of New Brunswick.
The scope of the project includes such items as:
- Provision of options for crossing the Reversing Falls Bridge
- Identification of potential interpretive locations/nodes
- Provision of interpretative options at Reversing Falls Tourist location keeping in harmony with the recently adopted Greater Saint John Growth Strategy.
- Identification of any required environmental risk assessments to be undertaken during final design stage.
“We are very pleased with the community support throughout our fundraising and construction periods”, said Ross Jefferson, General Manager of the Saint John Waterfront Development Partnership. “We had always hoped and expected the Passage to be used and appreciated but we believe its popularity and use has exceeded even our own expectations. We have completed several surveys of it’s use and have determined that there are over 2500 people walking Harbour Passage every day, and this study was done over a period of several days when there were no cruise ships in port. Expanding the passage to the west side will make the cranberry trail accessible to the citizens of the western part of the city so they too can enjoy the views and vistas of Saint John’s unique inner harbour up close. At this rate, we would expect so see our 1,000,000th walker on the passage within the next year or so.”
“Attracting people to the downtown and to our city is our ultimate objective and where you find people, you find business”, said Jefferson. “Developers can be influenced and attracted to cities if we continue to bring them value. By investing in infrastructure which is complementary to their own investments, and by increasing the number of people wanting to work, live and visit the downtown, business will benefit, new stores open, commercial space is sought out and residential demand increases.”
It has been estimated that if the city continues with it’s waterfront agenda, the future development from the private sector could reach $ ¼ billion and bring as much as $9-$13 million in new property taxes to the region. The public and private investment generated by the waterfront plan demonstrates that Waterfront Development is not just a “nice park”, but a strong business opportunity. These amounts do not even take in to account the opportunities and revenues created for business already located in the Uptown.
A fundraising campaign for the next phases of Harbour Passage is set to kick off today with funds raised earmarked for the Reversing Falls and West side phases of the passage. To date, over $ 4.5 million has been raised for waterfront development projects by both the private investors and the three levels of government.
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