Ontario needs a marine strategy, says City of Port Colborne

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Port Colborne wants the provincial government to create a marine transportation strategy to mirror Quebec’s that promotes shipping, tourism and marine resources.

The city, other municipalities and key stakeholder groups, including the Chamber of Maritime Commerce, have also called for the creation of a maritime secretariat to develop policy and a funding framework.

“As a council, we have been advocating for an Ontario marine strategy for two years,” Mayor Bill Steele said in a city statement.

There is currently no provincial framework or associated funding for cities and towns with ports, such as Port Colborne and St. Catharines.

The city said it must compete for limited federal funds with major ports, including Halifax, Montreal and Toronto.

“Municipalities like Port Colborne need to maintain port and port infrastructure for safety and security; supporting recreational and commercial navigation; attract investment and tourism; promote waterfront revitalization; and help facilitate the growth of the marine industry.

He said the capital costs to upgrade harbor and port infrastructure are significant and small communities in Ontario do not have the financial capacity to fund these improvements.

In 2015, Quebec adopted a maritime strategy to ensure optimal and responsible use of the province’s maritime potential. It has invested $3 billion over five years to fund various initiatives to enhance shipping, tourism and marine resources.

“Having a provincial strategy and capital funding would support marine issues important to the city, including harbor rehabilitation, flood mitigation and shoreline erosion, waterfront redevelopment and our cruise initiative, as well as the economic, touristic and cultural importance of the port of the city. than the importance of the industrial maritime sector.

“Any maritime strategy should also promote more partnerships and integration with rail and road transport networks as part of a freight transport strategy,” Steele said.

The statement says the city has advocated for the initiative in four separate meetings with the transport minister; the Minister of Infrastructure; the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade; and the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources, Conservation and Parks at the AMO 2021 conference.

He also supported a motion passed by St. Catharines City Council last year calling for a marine strategy and secretariat.

Niagara Economic Development Officers also discussed this issue at their monthly meetings. Niagara Region has prepared a draft position paper that will form part of the government relations and advocacy strategy, the city said.

A maritime strategy could help the city with respect to the cruise ship industry and conquering this market. There are expected to be 61 cruise ship calls in 2022, and the city is working on a wharf to accommodate tourists at the end of West Street and the old city yards on King Street.

“Great Lakes cruising has become one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world, and Port Colborne is well positioned to capitalize on this,” said Director of Strategic Initiatives Gary Long.

Long said the city has embarked on a cruise ship initiative to improve the waterfront and has invited private companies to be part of the project, including potential training facilities for the maritime industry.

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