© Ekistics Planning and Design image
Preliminary concept plan for the proposed Souris Beach development.
Visitors to Souris could soon see a new look to the beach at the town’s entrance thanks to a proposed $500,000 development plan.
Denis Thibodeau, the town’s deputy mayor, said the area is attractive but could use some work.
“It really is a fantastic beach and it’s right there on the side of the road,” he said.
The town hired a Dartmouth-based company called Ekistics Planning and Design to develop the plan for the waterfront.
That work cost $27,700 with $13,300 coming from the province.
In 2008 Ekistics presented an initial concept that was updated and presented to the town several weeks ago.
Included in the plan were improvements to the existing boardwalk and parking lot, more retail space, playground upgrades and removal of groynes used to control erosion.
Although the final price tag hasn’t been tallied yet, the town estimates the development will cost about $500,000.
Thibodeau said part of the plan involves removing some of the utility poles that line the edge of the beach.
“They sort of impede the beauty of the area and maybe something can be done with that,” he said.
Ekistics presented the plan during a recent public meeting and is working on revisions with input from council and the public, Thibodeau said.
“We should have that any day now.”
Thibodeau said once the town gets the revised plan it will then look for funding from other sources to help pay for the project.
To help get that funding the town committed $100,000 in its budget, Thibodeau said.
“We’re not begging for money. We’re an equal partner.”
Thibodeau said the town council hopes to get work started this year to have everything finished in time for next summer.
Ekistics representative Jill Robertson said she met with the town’s steering committee at the start of the project and they reviewed work that was done in 2008.
The company is revising the plan based on what it heard from the public and the updated plan should be ready this week, she said.
“In general the public was very favourable to this plan.”
Robertson said there won’t be a lot of changes, but the new plan won’t include a drop off area that was included in the initial concept and people felt wasn’t necessary.
There will also be some changes to the shoreline engineering and how the project will address the seawall, Roberston said.
“We’re reviewing a couple of technical options for that.”
Robertson said the plan was a combination of trying to develop a destination type of open space that benefits the community and acts as a tourist draw.
“If it works for the community it generally works for people visiting the community,” she said.