Plans to revitalize Breakwater Park have been on the City of Kingston’s books since 2013, however it wasn’t until last week that we finally caught a glimpse of what the long awaited enhancements might resemble. With a $1 million contribution from the federal government, and $500K offered by Swim Drink Fish Canada, City Council approved a substantial $5.4 million upgrade to Breakwater Park. With work set to being later this year, Kingstonians can look forward to life on the beach starting in Spring 2018.
Tucked below King Street, between Collingwood and Lower University, Breakwater Park is most widely recognized as the home of the city’s iconic Time sculpture. But that’s all about to change as a result of the bold design elements, which architectural firm Claude Cormier + Associates incorporated into their ambitious makeover. Notable features include: an upland sandy beach with terraced access to the water, a mirror-clad foot bridge connected to the pier, a new 4 metre-wide pedestrian trail, additional sidewalk connections, more trees and actual lighting. While renderings also depict numerous dogs off leash, this detail appears to be more of an aesthetic oversight than a nod towards a dog park being incorporated.
With all of the details pertaining to the park’s transformation in mind, this week’s poll asks:
Which new feature of the revitalized Breakwater Park are you most excited about?
- Sandy beach (53%, 445 Votes)
- Terraced waterfront access (18%, 151 Votes)
- 4 metre-wide trail (10%, 87 Votes)
- New Trees (8%, 69 Votes)
- Lighting (5%, 44 Votes)
- Foot bridge (5%, 40 Votes)
- Something Else (I'll tell you in the comments) (0%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 838
As a frequent visitor of Breakwater Park, news that this delayed project is finally moving forward is bittersweet. On the plus side, the reconstructed and widened path will greatly improve accessibility, and reduce the risk of pothole-related injuries when I’m out for a run. The same thing can be said about the new lighting, which addresses long overdue safety concerns. Of course, the addition of the sandy beach is also something I was cheering for, but I can’t help but wonder how often the sand will need to be replenished, and just how clean it will stay if unruly party-goers and dogs are not kept in check. Realistically, the beach could turn into an expensive litter box.
As with any project, depending on your point of view, certain details of this plan might miss the mark. For instance, over the past few years I’ve marveled at the sight of kite surfers chasing waves, coming as close as possible to the pier before cutting away and retreating from shore. Will this crowd be forced to find another slice of waterfront to fly their crafts as a result of the glitzy bridge and placement of swimming area? Another detail I can’t quite understand is why the aforementioned pedestrian path wasn’t widened just a bit more to provide dedicated lanes for cyclists, who are admittedly at risk of being squished out on the narrow shoulders of King Street. Could this oversight result in pedestrians and cyclists clashing on the new pathways?
By and large, I think that this plan contains many positive elements. The question is, did they get enough things right to please the majority of current users and visitors? What details concerning Breakwater Park are you most excited about? What aspects are missing, or otherwise what would you tweak?