A Perspective on the Future of Cornwall Ontario by Harry Valentine – LTE Aug 26, 2014

A Perspective on the Future of Cornwall Ontario by Harry Valentine – LTE Aug 26, 2014

 

LTE UCFN – A looming municipal election invites a wide range of citizens to declare their candidacy for public office and share their vision of the city’s future. Over the past 30-years, various candidates have promised to work to bring high paying jobs to Cornwall, repeatedly singing the hymn “I shall bring high paying jobs to Cornwall if elected – – – Ah-lay-hay-loo-yaaahhhh” during every election campaign. Except that nothing in this regard has materialized in many years. Ontario’s once vibrant manufacturing industry has collapsed while the provincial government pays over $10-billion annually to cover the interest charge on the provincial debt.

 

Population Growth:

 

Several years ago, there was an initiative to improve Cornwall’s commuter transportation link to Ottawa and the commuter bus service started. Today, it carries about 40-daily weekday riders between Cornwall and Ottawa. Except that improved transportation links to Ottawa have only benefited a few communities in the region that have undergone population growth, namely those located within 50-kms of Ottawa. On the Quebec side, opening a commuter train station at Vaudreuil to serve as the western turn-around point for Montreal’s Lakeshore commuter train service greatly increased population growth at Vaudreuil and surrounding area.

 

Competition from Quebec:

 

The Vaudreuil-Soulanges region of Quebec is located between the Ottawa and St Lawrence Rivers and border with Ontario. It has potential to compete with Cornwall for future economic development despite having long been an electoral stronghold for the Parti Quebecois and Bloc Quebecois. The recent opening of Hwy 530 across the St Lawrence River between Dorion and Chateauguay along with recent improvement to the docks at the nearby Port of Valleyfield enhances prospects for future economic development in that region. That region’s recent increase in population growth enhances future prospects to further develop Aerodrome-Montreal-Ouest at St Lazare.

 

Growing Cornwall’s Population:

 

A former Cornwall city councilor recently initiated some discussion about increasing Cornwall’s population. Perhaps at a residential district in Cornwall that is similar to Greg Quay in South Glengarry could attract a mix of professional people and retirees to Cornwall. To the east of Creg Quay on the Quebec side, the attractive village of Notre-Dame-sur-du-lac is built around a series of purposefully built interconnecting canals that provide all homes in that village with waterway access, via each backyard. It is an attractive neighbourhood where a mix of professional people and retirees live and where all houses are occupied.

 

Area Population Growth:

 

A neighbourhood similar to Notre-Dame-sur-du-lac located on the Ontario side and with each home having waterway access from the backyard may attract professional people to live in the outlying area near Cornwall. Except that several years ago, the region’s conservation authority stalled plans for such waterfront residential development at Lancaster. Unless the provincial government is prepared to repeal some of the powers accorded to some of the conservation authorities, future waterfront residential development would be out of the question in this area while it would likely prevail on the Quebec side of the border.

 

Cornwall Waterfront Residential Development:

 

Over the past several years, developers have built multiple-unit housing accommodations between 2nd Street West and the Cornwall Canal, also to the north of water street that provide some of the residents with a view over the river. While other waterfront development may be possible at Cornwall, the region’s conservation authority would likely oppose such plans. Otherwise dredging the tributary of Gray’s Creek that extends under Boundary Road into Cornwall’s east end, along with the installation of a water pump and small navigation lock, could provide summer time waterway access close to residential areas located south of 2nd Street.

 

Recreational Waterway:

 

Parks Canada oversees the Trent Severn Canal system, Rideau Canal system as well as locks on the Ottawa River to provide for recreational boating. There are plans to re-activate the old navigation canal near Coteau, Quebec, for the purposes of summer recreational boating. It may be possible at Cornwall, to build a navigation lock to the west of the new causeway, between the Cornwall Canal and St Lawrence River, to transit recreational watercraft. Mechanical boatlifts between Cornwall Canal and St Lawrence River and over the dam wall between the Cornwall Canal and Lake St Lawrence may be possible.

 

It may also be possible to build a shallow navigation canal using raised earth and concrete sections around the bottom of the dam wall, to link Cornwall Canal and Lake St Lawrence. The canal would include navigation locks and transit recreational and small commercial watercraft during summer. The edge of such a canal may need to be located some 50-metres away from the base of the dam wall so as to assure the structural integrity of that dam wall. Such a proposal requires further economic analysis as well as structural analysis

 

Barge Port:

 

The development of 2 x deep-sea super ports on the Gulf of St Lawrence for super-sized container ships could introduce container-on-barge traffic between those ports and inland ports. Bringing containers to a port at or near Cornwall’s front door during the navigation season could lower transportation costs for the distribution centers. Revisions to the navigable waterways act could go far to help develop a barge port at or near Cornwall. Except that the region’s conservation authority may delay development of such barge port, potentially diverting future maritime container traffic through the Port of Valleyfield and Vaudreuil-Soulanges area.

 

Conclusions:

 

Cornwall’s close proximity to the St Lawrence River enhances future prospects for waterfront and waterway development related to tourism, recreational and residential purposes. Except that the region’s conservation authority and NOT the elected municipal councils has acquired authority over such future development.

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34 Comments on "A Perspective on the Future of Cornwall Ontario by Harry Valentine – LTE Aug 26, 2014"

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jules
Guest
In the US when towns have lost their industries where the vast majority have been employed they have made railroad tracks with commuter trains to the larger cities where people can work and I have said this before. Ottawa’s OC Transpo wanted to make something between Ottawa and Cornwall for the people of Cornwall but Bare Ass turned it down for some reason so people are commuting on a bus and I saw that bus one time at St. Laurent Shopping Mall when I went into Sears store with my husband. My husband said to me “do you remember the… Read more »
Hugger1
Guest

Probably the same reason other municipalities turn these “offers” down….they’re too expensive.

Harry Valentine
Guest
Hi Hugger1 . . . . a private developer operating on private funding had initiated plans to build waterfront residential accommodations around the ponds at Lancaster . . . ponds located on private property owned by the developer. The canal community on the Quebec side of the border was also developed on private funding. The sad situation in this area has been short-sighted thinking at the municipal level and too much authority being given to the conservation authority that shut down a proposal that could have attracted professional people to live in this region . . . and commute to… Read more »
jules
Guest
Mr. Valentine the high tech sure has fallen and I knew a woman not too long when we first came to Ottawa and I met her in our doctor’s office. She was a high tech engineer who worked at Nortel and went to Oxford University in England to get her PHD in IT and she along with others were being laid off at Nortel. I haven’t seen her in some years and she used to go into the office with her sister who was a medical doctor. All the high tech companies that are left in Ottawa are mostly little… Read more »
Harry Valentine
Guest
Hi Jules, The town of Alexandria is the only town across Eastern Ontario that has the equivalent of commuter train service . . early morning AM trains going into Montreal and into Ottawa, complimented by evening PM trains from those cities. Within about a year or so, Alexandria will be connected to a water supply from the St Lawrence River. You warn about possible economic collapse . . . such an event could occur with Canada’s #1 trading partner, the USA . . . when they underwent a severe economic downturn several years ago, Southern Ontario’s manufacturing sector quite literally… Read more »
jules
Guest
Mr. Valentine it looks as if Alexandria is going to grow and Cornwall is going to stay behind and all thanks to Bare Ass as mayor. One lady in Cornwall that I know is from the Alexandria area and when she was a single woman she used to take the train to Ottawa and back for work. I would have liked this system to be installed for Cornwall but look at what happened. Many people get out of Ottawa and go and live in the smaller communities and for very good reason. The crime rate has escalated even in the… Read more »
Hugger1
Guest

I wouldn’t consider what Alexandria has as a “commuter train.” It arrives too late in Ottawa and is too costly for the average Joe to consider if they wanted to live there.

Hugger1
Guest
Alexandria will grow? Perhaps. But not to the extent of Cornwall. Alexandria has a population of 3,300. Need I say more? As for provincial gov’t layoffs…..probably. The federal gov’t has been doing this for a number of years. But the federal gov’t is very good at smoke and mirrors. Jules, please do NOT lump all federal PS workers in the same pile. I know when I was there the units I worked in worked very hard and with unrealistic deadlines. i never had time to read books. It gets tiring being a former PS worker and having to defend myself… Read more »
jules
Guest
Hugger I worked for Revenue Canada in the Excise Department when I was permanent. In that department we were busier than bees in a hive but when I left to stay with my kids for a short while I went back to work with the public service and agencies and DND was one of the places that hired the most and with little work. I wound up sitting behind a patrician for a whole week reading books and I had a mighty big migrane doing that and I called the agency in Hull to tell them that it was a… Read more »
Furtz
Member

Any town or community counting on Via Rail service in the future is walking on thin ice. The service has been, and continues to be cut all across Canada. It seems the plan is to reduce service, increase the fares, and then shut it down because not enough people use it.

Hugger1
Guest
Jules, I’m presuming it’s been a while since you worked in the federal PS. I retired about 3 years ago. Things have changed a lot in the last few years. When I left The Cons were just starting their latest slashing of the federal PS. When I left the unit I was in had eight people, it now has been reduced to one thanks to cuts and redistribution. Yes, the cuts were needed. But the way they went about it was not thought out. I’ve talked to people who are still there. People are still afraid of losing their jobs.… Read more »
jules
Guest
Furtz if the railroad goes out of business do you know how many jobs will be affected by this? Our food, lumber, steal, etc. etc. etc. would be greatly affected. I told Mr. Valentine that we are going to have an economic depression and this is no lie but the entire truth and I wouldn’t be surprised that the train system would go under as well. Do you know that American investor Warren Buffet owned CN Railway and sold it but now owns a railroad in the south of the US. Even the railroads in the US can be affected… Read more »
jules
Guest

{MODERATED} Jules please, comments, not books. Thanks

Furtz
Member

@ Jules. I was referring to Via Rail passenger service. Not the railroad freight companies.

jules
Guest

Got you Furtz. For a while I thought that it would be the entire railroad. Take a look at Cornwall having to call up a train by a computerized method which is literally crazy and people used to travel by train a lot and was a great deal safer than travelling by car. Yes I sure do see your point.

Hugger1
Guest

I enjoy most of your comments Jules and usually don’t agree with them. But unless you are going to back them up with facts, please try to limit the “I know because I know” comments.

David Oldham
Guest
I hate to suggest that anyone that thinks the railroads in Canada or the USA for that matter are in trouble don’t know what they are talking about, however that is likely the case. Bill Gates bought 49% of CN Rail for a reason. Approximately 4 years ago both my CN and CPR stock were under $70 per share. When I checked the other day CPR stock had passed $210 per share. I have continued to buy rail stocks across North American and have no short or medium term thought of selling. What people generally do not understand about the… Read more »
Harry Valentine
Guest
Hi David . . . . The Fed Gov’t ‘invested’ money to upgrade the railway tracks in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal triangle. They revised some schedules, including the early morning train from Montreal to Ottawa, that stops at Alexandria and is supposed to arrive at Ottawa at 8:20 AM, before departing for Toronto at 8:30 AM . . . it usually arrives in Ottawa at around 8:10 AM . . . giving commuters ample time to get into St Laurent Shopping centre, down-town Ottawa or University of Ottawa at 8:30 AM. The revised train service actually suits somebody who works a 9:00… Read more »
Hugger1
Guest

I just find arriving in Ottawa by “commuter train” at 8:20 a.m. to be very inconvenient. When I worked most people started before 8 a.m. I rode the Delanbey bus up from Cornwall. Previously I took the bus in from Casselman. I’m not saying the “commuter train” is bad, I just don’t think it’s realistic. This would prove true in the winter when travel times are at times unpredictable. I’d hate to be stuck in Ottawa for a night because I missed the train back.

Harry Valentine
Guest
Hugger1 . . . . the commuter bus has the advantage because they go right into down-town Ottawa, dropping off and picking up commuters right at the front door of some main office towers across Ottawa, while the VIA Rail station is away from the down-town Ottawa and out of walking distance to/from main places of employment. The situation is a little different in Montreal where VIA Rail (Central) station is within walking distance of several major office towers in down-town Montreal . . . . also the Montreal subway operates high frequency during rush hours, with an underground walkway… Read more »
Hugger1
Guest

I agree. The way to go is commuter bus. Taking a commuter train and then having to get on a bus to go downtown, to me, defeats the purpose of fast service.

jules
Guest
Mr. Valentine and folks OC Transpo wanted to make a commuter train or LRT to Cornwall and back and have the people of Cornwall use OC Transpo Buses for the same price. That is what I read and Bare Ass turned it down flat. I was at the doctor’s office a while ago and I am bushed but I have noticed construction going on where the University of Ottawa is located on the other side and it looks like they are building the tunnels for the train system. Everything is covered so I couldn’t see well. The problem is that… Read more »
jules
Guest
Mr. Oldham my husband used to travel in Europe before we were married and had a type of pass for the trains and Europeans travel like that all the time. Europass I think that is what he call it or something like that. That was years ago that we used to talk about this. Europeans do more travelling by train than by car or air. Europeans are way ahead of us in North America in everything including education and health care. My doctor has two brothers who live in Europe one in Norway and one in Sweden and he said… Read more »
jules
Guest
Just this morning my husband and I were talking about Cornwall being so isolated with no more Voyageur Bus, having to dial a train and we said that sure is isolation. In the past you had all these things and yes I do believe that Alexandria, Casselman and other towns will grow. There are many rural towns like Alfred, Plantagenet and others who are also bedroom communities to Ottawa and many people live there and commute to Ottawa and Montréal. With the time I would say anywhere from 10 to 20 years you will see those communities go ahead. As… Read more »
Furtz
Member

@ Jules. I know that you don’t have a drivers license, so you don’t drive a car or ride a motorcycle. And trains and buses are a total pain to use. So how do you get around? Hard to imagine you boogieing around on a bicycle or a pogo-stick.

jules
Guest
Furtz no I sure don’t drive and it is something that I never wanted to learn ever. I get around by my husband who drives and I use the bus and what is nearby I walk. If you ever had “the pleasure of driving in Ottawa” (I am using sarcasm here) LOL LOL you sure would understand why. LOL LOL. ROLF! Long before that back in 1959 when my sister drove in Cornwall and we almost had a very big accident and that turned me off driving completely. I only touched the wheel a couple of times and one was… Read more »
jules
Guest
When I worked in the federal government my hours were 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 pm. and all of us in our unit worked those hours except for 2 or 3 people. If the commuter train were to start really early in the morning then those who would work late would have to stay in a coffee shop until their time to work. The problem would be coming home unless everyone worked that same shift. The commuter train wouldn’t just have to go to Cornwall but would have to make stops in many places. How about the people who reside in… Read more »
jules
Guest
I was thinking about all this just a while ago and even thought about all the little places just outside of Ottawa itself that have no bus to get into town and I went out to those places some years ago but today those places are developed into a lot of private homes. In the past a lot of those places was cottage country and farms, etc. but today those places are built up with beautiful homes and no transportation other than the car so people are really isolated. With the years to come things will have to change and… Read more »
Harry Valentine
Guest
Hi Jules, Delaney’s commuter bus between Cornwall and Ottawa stops at multiple pick up points across Cornwall in the early AM hours, including Eastcourt Mall, downtown Cornwall and the Home Depot parking lot at Brookdale & Tollgate Road. The bus also serves St Andrew’s West and Monkland, making multiple AM stops across Ottawa that include St Laurent shopping/business centre, downtown Ottawa and extending to Tunney’s Pasture . . . arriving there around 7:15 AM every weekday morning. Delaney also operates daily weekday commuter buses from Alexandria (via Maxville), also from Finch. Other companies operate commuter buses that serve Casselman, Embrun,… Read more »
Hugger1
Guest

Does anyone actually work 9 to 5 any more? And if you did if the weather was bad you’d have to plan that for getting to the train on time to come home. Otherwise, it’s an expensive night in a hotel in Ottawa for you.

David Oldham
Guest

That was rather negative. It is usually more expensive to miss a day of work.

Hugger1
Guest

Unless the situation is perfect I don’t see taking a commuter train from Alexandria being worthwhile. Having to hop on OC Transpo in Ottawa is not ideal to me.

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