No, folks won’t be gathering along the St. Mary’s River to swim.
But in the future, you and your friends might be able to get together for some beach volleyball at Bellevue Park.
City staff last night were given the green light from Council to report on the feasibility of developing an urban beach at Bellevue Park.
Staff will look at the various steps required, location and potential costs. Bellevue Park spans 17 hectares.
The concept was a part of Mayor Matthew Shoemaker’s election campaign and the Mayor says an urban beach can provide a unique space for residents and tourists alike. It’s part of a broader plan to have a people-focused waterfront.
“I want to see what’s possible,” Shoemaker told council. “I know Toronto has developed a couple of former industrial sites on their waterfront as urban or non-swimming beaches…a place where they can relax without having to travel. It would be just another draw at Bellevue Park…and offer even more to do.”
Ward 1 Councillor Sonny Spina said an urban beach is a great opportunity for the community.
“I spend a lot of time at Bellevue Park,” said Spina. “I’m there three or four times a week running the trails or biking the trails and I see many people use the park. (But) there is unlimited potential in Bellevue Park and this is just the first step in realizing that potential and I’m excited to see it move forward.”
Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Vezeau-Allen walks her dog four or five times a week through Bellevue and thinks the urban beach will promote further activity.
“I think we’ll see more activation in terms of the bandshell, opportunities with concessions, pop-ups…all of these things we want to see in our community.”
Ward 4 Councillor Stephan Kinach says adding an urban beach at Bellevue will be particularly great for new residents in the city.
“These are people that only know the city. These are people that sometimes have restrictions on transportation. I think it benefit newcomers to our city the most.
Shoemaker said he expects “it will be a while” before council sees staff’s report as
environmental requirements will need to be examined.