MORRISBURG – An updated amphitheatre, expanded and beautified beach and the removal of one ball diamond and improvement of the two remaining are the top priorities of the Morrisburg Waterfront Action Committee (MWAC).

Carmelo Scaini of the MWAC presented a detailed proposal, including financial commitments needed to complete all projects in the continuing evolution of the waterfront.

The $66,000 of unused funds from the 2018 budget will be put toward the completion of the beach improvements, factoring in removal of a concrete pier, the purchase of a floating dock to complete the enclosed square, additional sand and a new fence.

The improved dock design will mirror a successful feature in use at the Iroquois beach and will also help mitigate the loss of sand.

An additional $40,881 was requested for reshaping the Cruickshank amphitheatre to make it more usable and accessible in the hopes of attracting more performances.

It is a renovation that was approved by the man whose family name adorns the performance venue, Les Cruickshank.

John Gleed is pictured during the July 2018 unveiling of map outlining Morrisburg’s geographic footprint before and after the Seaway’s flooding. The marker is one of the latest additions to the village’s waterfront, which appears set to finally get a much discussed makeover. Winchester Press File Photo

“He was in favour of the changes that will see the community making greater use of the theatre for such things as music festivals and outdoor theatre productions. He was deeply committed to the theatre,” said Scaini.

The proposed changes would improve general seating, open up a rear entrance for guests with wheelchairs and strollers coming from the parking lot and also provide them with a dedicated seating area.

The new funding requested will also cover temporary relocation of the theatre lights, reseeding of the theatre and removal of the western ball diamond and fencing, as well as the relocation of lights to the middle diamond.

“In order to plan for future park enhancements to the west, committee and staff have agreed that the western most ball diamond should be removed, reusing the lighting and fencing on the middle diamond, thereby making one superior adult ball diamond,” said Scaini.

Councillor Lloyd Wells, who is the municipal committee representative, gave the new plans and the committee a rousing endorsement.

“It’s going to make our beach look tremendous. We need something down there. That amphitheatre has been used, but not like it should be used,” he said. “The drive that they have is going to be beneficial to the community, big time. Great job and I’m really looking forward to working with you.”

Mayor Steven Byvelds thanked the committee for their work and also noted that their requested funds had been included and approved in the 2019 budget. He went on to underscore the importance of the waterfront.

“I think it’s time that we make the Morrisburg waterfront somewhere the community and people want to come down to visit,” he said.