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LaSalle Small Coast Waterfront Experience

The LaSalle Small Coast Waterfront Experience, located along the Heritage Detroit River, will be a connected, multi-amenity environment that offers the community an expanded, year round destination. It will be an authentic site that captures the rich history and culture of LaSalle, showcasing our three cultures of English, French and Indigenous.

The individual components will offer a mix of uses for both indoor and outdoor programming. The parkland will be a walkable, active and passive recreational environment that links the buildings with the landscape. It will also be a sustainable and technology-infused environment welcoming users of all ages and abilities. 

Concept map of LaSalle waterfront project

Public Consultation

Public consultation about the LaSalle Small Coast Waterfront project will take place from January 27 to March 1, 2021. 

The Town will be using PlaceSpeak, an online consultation platform that gives the community the opportunity to give us their ideas, thoughts and opinions about the project. Read through the project overview, take a look at the maps and videos in the Resources, and take part in the survey and polls. To participate, all you need to do is create a PlaceSpeak account. This account only needs to be created once, and then you will have access to other Town of LaSalle consultation projects, as well as projects that are posted to PlaceSpeak by other organizations. Addresses are collected at the time of registration to identify that the respondents are within the project consultation area.

We will also be releasing a series of videos about the project. 

Video 1: LaSalle Small Coast Waterfront Overview

Project Phases

At the December 17, 2020 Special Meeting of LaSalle Council, it was approved to move forward with Phase 2A and 2B-2. Phase 2A will start in 2021. The estimated budget for Phase 2A is about $12M. Phase 2B2 is subject to further studies, and could be started in 2022 (depending on approvals). The estimated budget for Phase 2B2 is about $18M.

Video of the December 17, 2020 Special Meeting of LaSalle Council

Presentation from the December 17, 2020 Special Meeting of LaSalle Council

Key Components

Event Centre

The existing dry boat storage structure (approximately 30,000 square feet) will be converted into a multi-purpose event centre to host seasonal events such as farmer's markets, art and craft fairs, etc. These multi-purpose spaces, together, form a cultural hub envisioned as a space where social, recreational, commercial and learning opportunities merge. A new event plaza and hardscape area will be developed immediately west of the building to facilitate indoor and outdoor year-round event opportunities.

Festival Event Lawn

LaSalle currently holds numerous festivals year-round, like the Strawberry Festival. This project will make the event lawn more conducive for future events. It will relieve flooding concerns and offer appropriate inclement weather solutions, such as the paved hardscape of the event plaza, and use of the indoor event centre.

Recreational Water Feature

As part of the larger site, the former marina has approximately 1600 lineal feet of boat slip space. The slip area would be upgraded, with a portion of the total length potentially being used for transient recreational boaters. This area is also being explored as a potential component of the storm water management system.

Community Centre

The community centre will be used for social, cultural, and recreational purposes such as rental space for private functions, community fundraising events, or private celebrations/birthdays. One of the important features of this component will be the beautiful scenic views of the Heritage Detroit River and Fighting Island. The community centre will be constructed to increase space and event opportunities within the Town.

Leisure Zones and Sport Zones

Ready and able to sustain a variety of uses, from family gatherings under a canopy to a leisurely walk in the snow, these large open passive spaces will deliver much-needed opportunities for reconnecting to the land. The project proposes leisure zones which offer multi-purpose passive areas. These spaces will provide open green areas lined with indigenous plants and trees and form a crucial transition between the active spaces (sport zone, festival event lawn and event plaza) and the nature preserve and shoreline. From a fitness perspective, the hub will continue to offer formal sport opportunities including baseball, tennis, children's play zone and an outdoor water feature (ex. splash pad or pool).

Natural Preserve Zone

Working with the Essex Regional Conservation Authority (ERCA), and in partnership with the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup (DRCC) and the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER), LaSalle will seek to preserve the natural marsh areas present on the site. This will include a conservation design which will protect, but also showcase, these regional jewels.

Trails, Markers and Beacons

Through fully accessible meandering paths, a riverwalk, and new bridges over the water and promenades, the main open spaces will be interconnected with the buildings and facilities across the entire hub. Trail Heads will mark key points along the routes offering information about each stop. Designated paths will be designed for emergency vehicle safety to allow first responders vehicle access to the water's edge. Two beacons are proposed at the ends of Laurier Drive and Bouffard Road at the water's edge. These fully accessible spaces are meant to draw visitors to the water and are envisioned as look-out constructs. They will offer weather station information, wildlife watching, and magnificent vistas, as well as learning opportunities to showcase energy saving and carbon reduction best practices.

Waterfront/Shoreline

This natural and man-made shoreline will be preserved and enhanced for its current use as a point of contact with the river's edge. Future generations will benefit from the commitment to keep and maintain it as a part of the Heritage River waterway.

Historic Zone

The historic zone will focus on heritage and cultural aspects through the restoration of a 1920’s built home, which was the original home constructed and owned by the first Mayor of LaSalle. Functioning as the new LaSalle Historical Heritage House/Museum, the facility will house important dioramas, archives, artefacts, and exhibits showcasing LaSalle's rich culture and history.

Relocated Boat Launch

This municipal service will be more appropriately relocated so as to relieve vehicle congestion within the site. This will relieve safety concerns and free-up the central greenspace by eliminating the large truck/trailer parking area. Its new location will offer a unique conceptual connection to LaSalle's past as it will be situated at the site of a former Rum-Running boat dock. This location will offer another historical layer to the information and exhibits to be found within the heritage house/museum.

Technology/Innovation

Power (using best practices wherever possible to utilize renewable energy sources) will be provided throughout the site to offer users an opportunity to "plug-in". Additionally, the individual components of the activity hub and waterfront experience will be seamlessly connected to data points situated throughout the site. There will be interactive kiosk and locational information at buildings, learning markers and trail heads. Visitors will be connected to cultural/historical data, component-specific information and real-time environmental metrics. Together, and along with the heritage house/museum, these amenities will enhance user experience by providing a much-needed activity hub waterfront environment. These shared and multi-faceted spaces are meant to encourage social and communal connections - where members of the community, regardless of age, gender, religion, or race, are able to share and participate in activities unique to LaSalle. It is intended that the site will be designed in such a manner as to accommodate and adapt to both current and future forms of accessibility/mobility needs.