A green waterfront

Landscape The public boardwalk uptown will soon have a much safer, friendlier look

SAINT JOHN - People got a first-hand look on Wednesday of what the Market Square Boardwalk could resemble in the future.

                                     Peter Walsh/Telegraph-Journal

Jean-Philippe Foisy, left, of ADI Ltd. chats about plans to renew the uptown boardwalk with Saint John developer Patrick Sohy.

The Saint John Waterfront Development Partnership hosted an information session detailing its boardwalk renewal plans with members of ADI Limited - the company that undertook the work - to answer questions.

Several large architectural drawings were on display with people crowding around to catch a glimpse of what the boardwalk might look like.

The general manager of the partnership, Michael Baldwin, said it was feedback from residents that helped shape the plan.

"Back in the fall we invited folks in to get some input in terms of what they saw for the boardwalk and the area," he said. "What we see here is an overall master plan and what it identifies is certain areas that could be improved over time."

Jean-Phillippe Foisy is one of the ADI architects who worked on the project. He said some of the changes being proposed would streamline traffic along the boardwalk and make the area more appealing.

"We're using the theme of Harbour Passage and bringing it out to the boardwalk with a little reinterpretation," Foisy said.

Waterfront Development has $600,000 set aside to introduce some of the changes this summer addressing safety concerns and more landscaping.

"This summer we're going to deal with any maintenance issues and a sort of revitalization of the water side," Baldwin said.

Some of the safety improvements include adding more lighting as well as replacing some of the posts that have rotted. As for the landscaping, Foisy said they'll be developed in front of Robertson's Wharf and North Point. It will beautify the landscape with shrubs, trees and rocks, among other items, while creating a separation between public and private space.

"We recognized that the boardwalk has public space butting up against private space and some of the design is to create a buffer between some of the condominiums and the boardwalk."

Earl Kierstead was one of the residents packed into the Belleisle room of the Hilton Hotel for the presentation. He liked what he saw and called it an improvement.

"They're proposing more lighting which is better for safety and I think more people will use the boardwalk with the changes," Kierstead said.

He noted that seniors don't feel safe on the boardwalk at night, but the safety improvements should change that.

Baldwin said this summer's work is just the first phase of the revitalization process and hopes to introduce more of the plan in years to come.

"We hope to continue with improvements over the next number of years and we're hopeful that can be done because this is a valued space in the city," Baldwin said.

Source: Telegraph Journal March 12, 2009