Rendering of Waterfront Centre

The plan to construct a waterfront centre in Port Colborne took a big step forward at last night’s council meeting with the hiring of an architect.

The process of evaluating proposals started in mid-February and was entrusted to a committee of city staff from several departments with different areas of expertise. “We received ten proposals in total. Most of them were excellent, which made it very difficult to narrow down the pool to just one,” said Gary Long, manager of strategic initiatives.

Council accepted the committee’s recommendation to hire J.P. Thomson Architects in a report that describes the extent to which staff had gone to score proposals, review the results, perform reference checks, and finally conduct an interview with the Windsor-based firm.

“I want to thank my colleagues on the committee for their diligence over the last few months,” said Long. “This building will be a positive addition to Port Colborne’s waterfront and our project team can’t wait to see it come together.”

Although a project in Port Colborne may be a first for J.P. Thomson Architects, the firm has been developing sites and designing buildings for the education, government, institutional, and cultural sectors since 1936. Among their latest is The Dock Event Centre in the town of LaSalle in Essex County. Expected to be complete later this spring, the 31,000 square feet facility will be a critical part of a $50-million plan to transform the town’s Detroit River waterfront into a multi-amenity environment.

“We are thrilled to be selected for something that will play a pivotal role in revitalizing Port Colborne's unique waterfront experience,” said Colin McDonald, President of J.P. Thomson Architects. “The similarities between this community asset and the ones we designed for the Town of LaSalle give us an intimate understanding of how to guide the process from concept to occupancy.”

The next steps in advancing the waterfront centre concept will start in May with a series of kick-off meetings between teams at the city, the architect firm, and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. Engineering consultants will also be involved in these early conversations by helping to develop a site plan that determines where the building will be placed.

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