CFN – The stunningly beautiful Long Sault Parkway is sadly closed this winter; one of the most beautiful times to enjoy its beauty. The Parkway is the centre of a battle between South Stormont Ontario and newly entrenched poobah Darren Dalgleish.
The dispute seems to come down to the end of the Farran Park lease to South Stormont and Mr. Dalgleish’s reluctance to foot the bill (between $10-25K per winter) for keeping the road way clear through the winter; something South Stormont had been footing the bill for; partially covered by revenues from Farran Park.
Mr. Dalgleish stated:
There is no economic value to keeping the Parkway open during the winter for the Parks Commission.
Mayor Bryan McGillis said of Mr. Dalgleish:
He talks of a partnership, but there never was a partnership. He has a total disrespect for the community and local business.
Mr. Dalgleish sent in the following statement which are printing in its entirety and unedited.
Regarding the Long Sault Parkway: The Township of South Stormont Council elected to cease its snow plowing operation of the LSP for cost reasons. While I certainly understand the need for fiscal restraint, this decision was made by TSS Council. It is the same fiscal discipline that SLPC must employ to ensure all dollars are spent where budgeted and where the most economic value will be created. SLPC remains open to renewing this agreement with the Township of South Stormont.
SLPC has not provided winter maintenance of this road since 1991. In February of 2000, the Township of South Stormont requested that SLPC permit the road to stay open on the agreed basis that the Township would provide the winter maintenance, and an agreement was formed as such. In April, SLPC received a letter from TSS that they would be discontinuing the activity.
To be clear, the winter maintenance of the LSP and SLPC’s retrieval of Farran Park are mutually exclusive as anyone close to the issues knows. With the Township of South Stormont’s decision to discontinue winter maintenance, SLPC is required to install barriers as a public safety requirement and so as not to expose the Province to undue risk or liability. It remains accessible for snow sports and other types of recreational traffic.
SLPC has engaged in a series of business development efforts aimed at providing good customer value, new product, and economic thrust in the region. The notion that SLPC or the CEO of SLPC doesn’t care about business or the community is laughable. Our approach to business and growth in the community clearly indicates the exact opposite.
We receive tremendous feedback from business between Cornwall and Morrisburg as well as many residents. …but to get a clear picture, one must listen to people and watch.
- The extensive investment in our parks system including the return of Farran Park and the deployment of almost $500k in updates and repairs. Specifically the neglected Electrical Infrastructure required dramatic repair to get to ESA code and thus safe for its guests.
- Free access for everyone to drive the LSP where a gate fee had been charged per person. A fee is only charged if the person plans to stay and use a day use area such as a campground or beach (does this appear ignorant of community interests?)
- 30% reduction in UCV admission price and 60% parking fee reduction. Our postal code data clearly shows that we are getting more local visitors than before, and the total attendance at UCV has increased. We are making our sites more economically available to families and that’s good for everyone.
- And new business and product enrichment items such as the very successful Pumpkinferno that brought over 35,000 people to the area in a few week time span…many of which stayed in the local hotels, ate at restaurants, filled up their gas tanks, and became intimate with the area (So yes we care greatly about our local businesses and they have been vocal with their support) The annual event added 14 seasonal jobs to the area. We had over 36 local business sponsors between Cornwall and Iroquois….(does this appear careless of local business).
- We added new product that drove traffic to the area from Montreal and Ottawa with things like Vintage Biplane rides, Marina expansion.
- Our parks system alone has seen the deployment of over $4m in capital much of which was spent in the South Stormont Township such as upgraded washrooms at camp grounds, rebuilt beaches, addition of state of the art play equipment,
- SLPC is building the entire Parks package to deliver exceptional value with the addition of the reciprocal program where paying guests receive free admission to our other facilities.
This year we are seeing the PGA come to UCGC and the expansion of Pumpkinferno, Alight at Night, a new Food and Gardens festival/Farmers Market at UCV, expansion of the 2 for 1 reciprocal program to include ½ price golf memberships with a Marina slip, more parks and beaches investment and an enormous marketing thrust for the area showcasing SLPC product. Local business will continue to be pleased.
Simply put, we are here as a business, but also to drive economic prosperity to the region….and we are doing it aggressively! I am excited about the growth on the horizon and I encourage everyone to do their part in a positive constructive manner. SLPC will continue with its relationship building with the many municipalities we are in, and I am hopeful and confident all stakeholders in our region will also. I look forward to our ongoing collaboration with South Stormont staff and council.
Mayor McGillis stated that after the frustration of trying to come to terms with Mr. Dalgleish over a new lease and partnership of Farran Park that talks were futile over the Parkway. He stated that there was no offer from Mr. Dalgleish to even pay part of the costs of snow removal; keeping the parkway open; something that Mr. Dalgleish confirmed via phone with this scribbler.
The Long Sault Parkway has thousands of people drive through it each year and is a stunningly under appreciated destination. This scribbler remembers standing in water on what was the old highway with ace videographer Kevin Lamoureux of KAV productions talking about an amazing tourism video we could shoot as it seems so few people know about it.
The Parkway was closed several years ago in the winter until South Stormont came to the public’s aid and kept it open.
It’d be a shame if smarter minds didn’t prevail and some funds from the SLPC could be found to keep it open.
Special thanks to area photographer Calvin Hanson who has taken hundreds of photos of the beautiful vistas of the Long Sault Parkway and area.
What do you think viewers of CFN? You can post your comments below.