Niagara as an overall region, is home to an abundance of waterfront and lakefront properties. To address the development of these waterfront communities and enhance public use and access, the Niagara Region offers an annual Waterfront Investment Program. This program which provides approximately $1 million annually on a grant basis, has received two competing applications this year which highlight Niagara municipalities plans for lakefront growth.
Overview of the Niagara Waterfront program
Niagara’s two waterfront enhancement programs merged earlier this year to form the Waterfront Investment Program. The program is essentially a refocus to ensure that Niagara’s waterfront and lakefronts are geared for investment opportunities. The incentive program which operates on a 50-50 cost share grant up to $1 million each year, over a 10 year timeline. Aside from encouraging investment and economic development, accepted applications must prove public realm benefits.
Fort Erie - Bay Beach Redevelopment
Bay Beach is the largest public beach in Niagara and the town of Fort Erie is invested in giving it a facelift. Working with consulting firm, the Planning Project, the town developed a Bay Beach master plan with $2 million in redevelopment opportunities. This includes the construction of a new washroom/shower facility, walkways, kiosk/admission gates and landscaping and a redesign on the downtown area surrounding Bay Beach. Fort Erie’s application requested $850,000 from the Waterfront Investment Program.
Grimsby - Forty Mile Creek Trail
Grimsby’s Forty Mile Creek Trail runs from Grimsby’s lakefront directly through Beamer Memorial Conservation Area, the town’s downtown and into the Niagara Escarpment. The trail is approximately 1.7 km and the town is looking to make a number of improvements. The include, but are not limited to, bridge and tunnel additions, improvements for accessibility and cyclists and trail extensions. Grimsby has requested $880,000 from the regional Waterfront Investment Program to make the improvements.
Both projects are significant and will change the face of both communities. However, they both also eat up the majority of the Regions annual funds. Grimsby is one of Niagara's fastest growing communities and Fort Erie's once thriving Crystal Beach tourism area is in need of a facelift. Improvement to either area will allow the communities to position themselves in a more investment friendly position. To view commercial and residential waterfront properties for sale in Niagara, click here.