Name the Waterfront

Thank you to the many individuals that submitted an idea for the Name the Waterfront Campaign. We have received some great ideas! Administration will review all submissions in December 2022 and will consider them based on the uniqueness, cultural significance, and overall suitability of the name. In early 2023, all submissions, as well three to six preferred options, will be presented at a Regular Meeting of LaSalle Council for their consideration.

Preference will be given to names that exemplify the uniqueness and heritage of the waterfront development and the Town of LaSalle. Reminders for name submissions:

  • Submissions limited to one per person.
  • Any names submitted of a family and/or individual may be subject to a police record check. 
  • Anything received that is inappropriate will be discarded.
  • The naming of the waterfront is not a contest, meaning that a name submitted more than once may not be chosen.

Background: At the July 12, 2022 Regular Meeting of LaSalle Council, a motion was passed that administration gather public input for the naming of the waterfront. At that meeting, Council made the decision to not use the name Petite Côte Waterfront. In addition, Council requested that administration meet with members of the Maure Family to find a suitable naming option within the waterfront project to honour Gil Maure as Gil Maure Park is located within the waterfront project. 

Waterfront Project Update October 2022

The waterfront project in LaSalle, 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 Indigenous, French and English.

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. 

The original full build-out concept was developed and has been posted on the Town website for the last 12 months and was presented to the community as part of the initial consultation process. Throughout this time, administration has been working on geotechnical information, environmental constraints and/or archeological studies, to name only a few. Between these investigations and the comments that we have received since launching the project, some changes have been made to the overall concept.

The map below shows the 2022-2026 build of the waterfront project. This includes: event centre along the parking lot, temporary event plaza, water feature, winter skate trail, festival lawn, Benoit House site restoration (external repairs to the house), restoration of coach house and ground maintenance. The budget and dollars for these activities is already approved and in place.

Drawing of proposed ammenities to be built from 2021 to 2026at the waterfront in LaSalle.

The map below is a concept of the full build of the waterfront project. This new vision takes into consideration the public consultation received to date and some of the construction challenges. The order of works beyond 2026 is currently not known or budgeted for and will be explored in future year budgets and as we progress beyond the 2021-2026 build.

Drawing of a map of ammenities proposed to be built in the future at the waterfront in LaSalle.

Key Components

Event Centre

The former dry boat storage structure (approximately 30,000 square feet) is in the process of being converted into a multi-purpose event centre to host seasonal events such as farmer's markets, art and craft fairs, festivals 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. 

The Town is currently conduct an Expression of Interest (EOI) process to develop a roster of festivals and community events to be held at the Event Centre in 2023 and beyond. Preference will be given to events that will add variety to the event line up.

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. It is now proposed that the festival lawn be located to the area north of the marina cut, west of the parking lots.  The soils in this area have been identified with poor bearing capacity making building anything with foundations costly. Projected timeline: to be determined

Water Feature/Ice Trail

The water feature was originally located in an east/west orientation interfering with some existing Provincially Significant Wetland designated property.  The water feature has been re-orientated and relocated along Front Road, to the south of the event centre. It will be combined with the winter ice trail. Public comments expressed high interest in this feature and it is in the preliminary design stage.

At this time, administration is investigating natural ice versus a synthetic ice product for the winter trail. Two sessions have been held to gain feedback from the public about skating on a synthetic surface. A recommendation will be made to Council in early 2023 about the design of the skate trail.

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. The community centre will be constructed to increase space and event opportunities within the Town.  The location of the proposed future community centre has been moved away from the water’s edge to allow for better opportunity for the building foundation. The need for an additional community centre combined with what has been constructed as part of the Event Centre will require further analysis/justification. Projected timeline: beyond 2026

Mix Use Development

The mix use area has been expanded to allow for more opportunities for partnerships with businesses to set up establishments in the area. Feedback received from the community consultation was in favour of including commercial opportunities with a water view on the site, including restaurants, pubs, ice cream shops, etc.  Many respondents stated that adding restaurants would make this area a destination in LaSalle. Administration has provided for an expanded opportunity for these types of services within the waterfront area. Parking has also been added to support the commercial area. Projected timeline: based on demand and can be advanced as demand warrants and/or as cost-neutral options are identified.

Leisure Zone and Sport Zone

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 native 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 sand volleyball, basketball, a children's play zone and an outdoor water feature (ex. splash pad or pool). The playground and leisure zones are being proposed to be moved and re-orientated within the overall park. 

The layout and location of the new sport zone area has been shifted. In the new plan, provisions/space for new sand volleyball courts and a new basketball court are being reserved at the waterfront. New tennis facilities have been constructed at the Vollmer Complex and opened in the fall of 2022. Sand volleyball and basketball courts will roll into the next round of funding/phasing. Projected timeline: beyond 2026

The original full build-out vision was to remove the outdoor pool. A proposed new future outdoor pool location has been considered and space reserved within the new overall concept. There were minimal comments received about the outdoor pool, however, all who responded were in favour of keeping an outdoor pool in operation.  Projected timeline: beyond 2026. 

We have identified the removal of the proposed beach entrance into the water.  There are concerns with the original location about water quality issues and water flow. 

The Town has recently constructed a dog park at the Vollmer Complex, therefore, a dog park has been removed from the waterfront project. There is potential to add a dog park in the overall site in the future should demand warrant its need.

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. During the five-year plan, a few of these trail connections will be constructed. Projected timeline: 2024/2025

Detroit River Shoreline

This natural and man-made shoreline will be preserved and enhanced for its current use as a point of contact between land and water. Future generations will benefit from the commitment to keep and maintain it as a part of the Heritage Detroit River waterway.

Historic Zone

One of the major changes within the five-year plan relates to the historic zone. Some of the preliminary costs to upgrade the Benoit House to a museum, and the associated modifications to the coach house, detached garage and grounds/gardens is being estimated to cost three to five times more than anticipated. 

Included in the updated five-year plan is a full renovation to the coach house, clean-up of the surrounding lands and exterior renovations to the Benoit House. This will allow public access to the coach house. The actual work to the Benoit House will include new windows, exterior renovations, new roof, foundation repairs and water proofing. The actual Benoit House will not be accessible to the public and will not contain the proper mechanical systems to operate as a museum at this time.  

Upgrading the Benoit House to a museum will occur in future phasing of the waterfront expected to occur in 2026-2030. In addition, to operate a museum, administration does need some time to work through the operational model of running a museum along with collection of content and exhibits for display. This delay will allow administration to gain a better handle on operational needs, staffing requirements, exhibits, artifacts, etc. In addition, in the interim, administration will continue to research and develop digital collections and exhibitions that focus on the Town’s history to share with the community. 

The parking lot for the Benoit House and Ulster Street extension is delayed due to cost implications. Projected timeline: to be determined

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 will be seamlessly connected to data points situated throughout the site. There will be interactive kiosks 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. 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.

Boat Launch

The proposed relocated boat launch in the previously approved plan has been eliminated.  During the public consultation, there was an overwhelming support that the boat ramp remains in the current location, with some people asking for a larger area to accommodate increased use. Therefore, the current boat launch will be left in place with plans to provide for some expanded parking where possible.

The proposed relocated boat launch was going to be costly to build given some of the soil challenges in the area north of the marina cut and west of the parking area. With keeping the boat launch in its existing location, in the future, the washroom facility servicing the boat launch will be rebuilt in the same area. 

Level grade and seed of the area to the west of the event centre will continue to occur and be completed late in the 2022-2026 term.

Future Transient Marina

Space for a future transient marina is being reserved within the existing marina cut. Operation of marina services will be a future decision of Council based on, if and when, a need arises and will form part of future budgeting/phasing. Public comments about the marina focused on the context of not competing with local marinas currently in operation within LaSalle. There was interest in offering a transient option, therefore, delaying this for future years will garner if this is needed at that time. Projected timeline: beyond 2026

At this time, the upgrade of the former marina is limited to the removal of existing boat finger docks and the potential for replacement of the current steel break wall and converting a portion of the old marina cut to a stormwater management pond. This stage of the project will continue to occur as part of Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund work. Projected timeline: 2023 - 2026

Front Road District Waterfront Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan Study

At the July 26, 2022 Regular Meeting of LaSalle Council, a recommendation was approved to move forward with a Front Road District Waterfront Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan Study. This study will be completed by qualified professionals and will include reviewing what is planned/committed to be built from 2022-2026 and will look at what is currently proposed for the future full build-out vision. This study will have a public consultation component and will look at the entirety of the Front Road business district. This study will help ensure as future year projects are brought forward, they are projects consistent with meeting the Town’s objectives and will ensure they are coordinated with any other private investments that may be occurring elsewhere within this Front Road District corridor.

This study will also look at potential for a Community Improvement Plans and current land use planning policies to enhance and support private redevelopment in the area and ensure the investments made by the Town are appropriate.

Reports to Council

Information about the development of the waterfront on Front Road in LaSalle has been presented to LaSalle Council at a number of meetings:

October 11, 2022

At the October 11, 2022 Regular Meeting of LaSalle Council, the following was approved:

  1. That the report of the Director of the Strategy and Engagement Department dated September 20, 2022 (SE-04-2022) regarding the consultation for the naming of the waterfront be received; and
  2. That council approve the consultation to take place in November 2022 as outlined in the report, with names for consideration to be presented to Council in January 2023.

July 26, 2022

At the July 26, 2022 Regular Meeting of LaSalle Council, the following was approved:

  1. That the report of the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer dated July 7, 2022 (AD-11-2022) regarding the Waterfront Park Redevelopment Modified/Updated Concept and Direction be received. 
  2. That Administration be authorized to prepare and release a request for proposal to engage the services of professionals to complete a Front Road District Waterfront Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan Study.

Video of the July 26, 2022 Regular Meeting of LaSalle Council

July 12, 2022

At the July 12, 2022 Regular Meeting of LaSalle Council, the following was approved:

  1. That Administration commence a public engagement process, which includes a live in-person session, to obtain public input on the naming of the waterfront park lands and that Administration meet with the Maure family to come up with a suitable option to recognize Gil Maure.

Video of the July 12, 2022 Regular Meeting of LaSalle Council

April 26, 2022

At the April 26, 2022 Regular Meeting of LaSalle Council, the  following was approved:

  1. That the report of the Director of Culture and Recreation dated March 28, 2022 (CR-2022-09) regarding the plan to manage festivals and events be received; 
  2. And that the Event Hosting Policy be approved;
  3. And that the Event Rental Fees be approved; 
  4. And further that the permanent full-time position of Recreation Programmer – Events be approved.

Video of the April 26, 2022 Regular Meeting of LaSalle Council 

December 15, 2021

At the December 15, 2021 Budget Session, the following was approved:

  1. That the report of the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer dated December 6, 2021 (AD-20-2021) regarding the Petite Côte Waterfront redevelopment project update/modifications be received.
  2. That Council support the new full build-out vision and that Council authorize administration to work on finalizing the concept with J P Thomson.
  3. That Council approve the new 5-year (2021-2025) build plan/phase.

Video of the December 15, 2021 Budget Session

April 13, 2021

At the April 13, 2021 Regular Meeting of LaSalle Council, the following was approved:

  1. That the report of the Corporate Communication and Promotions Officer and the Director of Special Projects dated March 29, 2021 (CAO-C&P-03-2021) regarding the LaSalle Small Coast Waterfront Consultation and Next Steps be received;
  2. That the report outlining a summary of the public consultation for the Small Coast Waterfront Project be received;
  3. That administration be authorized to proceed to finalize the plans and specifications for the Event Centre and issue the tender documents for the proposed renovations;
  4. That administration be authorized to proceed to finalize the plans and specifications for the redevelopment of the sports zone and issue the tender documents for the tennis courts, sand volleyball courts and basketball court (budget dependent);
  5. That administration be authorized to move forward with plans to renovate the former Benoit House as a museum including the development of architectural plans, a strategic plan, an operational plan and financial model; and
  6. That administration be authorized to continue with the completing the necessary studies/permits to allow for the construction of the water feature/ice trail, filling of the property and development of future components of the project.

Video of the April 13, 2021 Regular Meeting of LaSalle Council

December 17, 2020

At the December 17, 2020 Special Meeting of LaSalle Council, the following was approved:

  1. That the report of the Deputy Clerk dated December 11, 2020 (AD-12-20) regarding the Small Coast Waterfront Development be received and that Administration be authorized to proceed with option 2B-2 as amended and outlined in said report which includes the option of a water/ice feature.
  2. That Administration be authorized to apply for the COVID-19 Resilience Grant for rebuilding the sports court as part of phase 2A of the Small Coast Waterfront Development in the amount of $335,000.00.

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

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

Public Consultation

The original public consultation session about the LaSalle Small Coast Waterfront project took place from January 27 to March 26, 2021. The Town is 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. 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. The consultation final report was presented at the April 13, 2021 Regular Meeting of LaSalle Council. It is expected that additional consultation sessions will take place as future phases of the project are introduced.

We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.Canada Logo