Port Elgin News: City Says No to $1 Million Beach Washroom Expansion
Last week in Port Elgin, Saugeen Shores councillors rejected a $1.1 million proposal to renovate and expand the Main Beach washroom. The council saw it to be too costly but did the leave door open to reviewing a different proposal that wouldn’t be as major and expensive.
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Port Elgin’s Director of Community Services identified the proposal as a new, exciting renovation that would completely change the look and people’s first impressions of the beach. However, the council could not justify the value of it for taxpayers. Overall, councillors discovered that the added debt to execute the renovations would have added nearly $11 million to property in Saugeen Shores tax bills each year for the next 20 years.
One potential solution for raising money to perform upgrades to the washrooms and beachfront was to begin charging a fee for parking called “user pay” that beaches like Sauble Beach and Grand Bend have.
One councillor was originally shocked at the $500,000 washroom budget, let alone one that cost $1.1 million. He noted that although the beach is a major part of Port Elgin, the cost to upgrade the facilities would simply cost the residents too much money when not all of them are frequent beach visitors. Additionally, they are already paying for a new police headquarters and an aquatic facility.
Although this proposal was denied, there seems to be interest on both sides of renovating and upgrading the beachfront, which is why the council is willing to listen to other proposals that improve the area without breaking the bank.
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