By Colin Burrowes
According to the Municipality of Kincardine mayor, Anne Eadie, 2020 is going to be a very productive year for development in the area. She said residents will see more development in the Highway 9/21 business park. It was budgeted in 2019 but construction is getting underway now.
“Some engineering had to be done, so they didn’t get going last year as planned but they have started now,” said Eadie.
In 2018, work was done in preparation to extend Russell Street. She said that had taken awhile because they had to wait on permission from the MTO.
“I was really pleased,” she said. “The plan is to take the water and sewer on the Russell Street extension and go around to Millennium Way and the extension on Durham Street.”
The latest plans for Durham Street are to extend beyond Millennium Way and have it curve around to connect with Highway 9. The road will be constructed and then left gravel for a year to settle. Eadie said developers are already showing interest in the first phase of Russell Street.
“If there are developers who come through with a concrete plan, they would be able to start working and set up water and sewer and the road can be constructed in 2021,” said Eadie. “The water and sewer are going around. I’ve been guaranteed that.”
Eadie said she is confident it is a “build it and they will come” situation because there has been interest expressed in the business park.
When asked what is be being done to ensure the new business park will not have negative impacts on downtown businesses, Eadie said council will continue to liaison with the Business Improvement Area (BIA) and the Chamber of Commerce so the municipality will maintain awareness of initiatives.
“One of the things we are trying to do is make people realize there is nightlife downtown,” she said. “We have such an attractive downtown with many festivals and events.”
She said the large events like the Lighthouse Blues Festival and the Kincardine Scottish Festival draw in big dollars for downtown.
“The idea is to work with the BIA and the Chamber of Commerce to figure out how to extend that and bring more visitors year-round,” she said.
Part of what she said they hope to do is to promote restaurants in the area and the Christmas events held downtown.
“The other draw we have is our sports,” said Eadie.
She reflected on the huge success of the Silver Stick hockey tournament on the last weekend of December, which drew crowds that over filled the parking lots at the Davidson Centre.
“That helps Tiverton,” she said. “In the winter, the Tiverton arena is used. We have eating establishments in Tiverton, as well.”
Eadie acknowledged there are several different business areas developing across Kincardine.
“We have the Sutton Street area,” she said. “I’ve gone to ribbon cuttings thereas well, with West Coast Catering and Kin Social opening up on the north side.”
Eadie said the municipality is pleased to have the Bruce Power business office, as well as offices of several Bruce Power supply chain companies, open in the Sutton Street business area.
The downtown lakeside business section is an area which Eadie believes benefits from their proximity to the beaches and harbour.
“it is a beautiful area,” said Eadie. “I have to give credit to former councils and staff who went ahead and did the beautification of Harbour Street because it is such a nice transition from our downtown to the iconic lighthouse and Walker House right down to the beach.”
Eadie recognizes that some businesses have been lost throughout the community but she believes there will be new businesses coming in to fill those gaps.
“We do need housing that suits people,” she said. “They just want to have a decent dwelling. It could be a nice town house or a duplex. We are getting the message that it doesn’t have to be a single detached house.”
Building was up in 2019 over 2018 and Eadie predicts it will rise again in 2020. Eadie said the Bruce County attainable housing development on Gary Street will be a welcome addition to the community.
It is a big build which will replace Kinham Apartments Queen Street, which does not meet accessibility standards.
“So that will free up some existing stock that private developers can upgrade and sell,” said Eadie. “It will also provide some extra apartments for affordable living. You don’t want to just build something to size because we do have waiting lists.”
Eadie feels the Gary Street location will be excellent for residents because of its proximity to amenities in the Sutton Street area.
“You aim as much as possible to have a walkable, bike-friendly community,” she said. “We have room to grow in that area and we have room to grow at 9/21.”
The recent progress of the natural gas expansion into the area is also something which Eadie is pleased to see reach fruition.
“I’ve been involved since 2011 finding a way to get natural gas, in partnership with Huron-Kinloss and Arran-Elderslie,” she said.
Not having access to natural gas has been an economic disadvantage for all three municipalities.
“That was a factor in businesses coming in 2019,” said Eadie. “They knew we were going to get natural gas in the area … it’s a huge savings.”
A study was completed in 2012 and the cost was found to be approximately $80 million.
“We’re too small,” she said. “That just wasn’t going to happen.”
The municipalities went out on a limb, hiring a consultant and completing Requests for Information (RFI).
“That led to us choosing EPCOR, who offered to fund most of the capital, then we just had to lobby the government for the rest,” said Eadie.
She said that growing up on a farm she never thought she’d get excited about shovels but when she was driving up Bruce Road 20 and she saw all the pipe laid out, she was excited for the shovel-turning ceremony.
“I thought, finally, after all these years,” she said.
Another big upgrade that she said they are planning for this year is the Huron Terrace pumping station and force main.
“That is one of our bigger infrastructure projects to accommodate our future growth … It’s one of our major pumping stations for the town,” said Eadie.
The Tiverton Reunion was an event that stood out as a highlight of the past year for Eadie.
“It was very successful and very well organized,” she said. “That event stood out as special for me.”
In 2019, the municipality also took great strides to embrace the digital age with more digital media presence, launching the interactive website Kincardinetalks.ca and starting online registrations for recreation programs. Eadie said 2020 will see even more online programs being added.
“In 2020 our number one priority is to continue investing in our water and sewer infrastructure to support our growth and economic development opportunities in, not just nuclear, but all business and residential areas.”
Tiverton is another area where Eadie said residential growth will be coming. Some of the Bruce Power supply chain companies have already moved into Tiverton and the advantage for more growth is that both Tiverton and Inverhuron are close to businesses such as Bruce Power, Ontario Power Generation, 7Acres and Greenfield Ethanol.
Eadie ended the conversation by predicting this will be the year of the KIPP Trail.
“The volunteers have done a marvelous job raising some finances for it,” she said. “So, the municipality has applied for a grant so I’m really hoping this is the year this will come to fruition.”
The trail will give people living in the subdivisions north of the town of Kincardine and in Inverhuron to bike safely in good weather.