November 28, 2021

INFO 10

THE TRUTH IN BLACK AND WHITE

$30 M River Front project commences in Linden

Ongoing works being done on the Mackenzie Waterfront

The Ministry of Public Works has commenced the construction of the $30 M Waterfront Development Project, in Linden. The project is being executed on both the Wismar and Mackenzie shore simultaneously. On the Wismar shore, construction is occurring obliquely opposite the Wismar Municipal Market, while works are ongoing at Coop Crescent, Mackenzie. The construction should include primary facilities and aims to contribute to the social and economic advancement of the town. To be included are recreational, environmental and sanitation facilities.

The commencement of the project was however met with criticism and concern from the lack of consultation with the necessary stakeholders and residents of Linden on what is desired. In a recent letter to the Editor, Environmentalist and Promoter of the Linden River Front Festival, Samuel Wright, expressed his disappointment that the work started without any formal notification of the Linden Mayor & Town Council, the Region 10 RDC and other stakeholders.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the lack of consultation as well, was Chairman of the Region 10 Tourism Committee, Devin Sears, who said during a recent media briefing, that the regional tourism bodies were not invited to give input on the project. “The entire process of allocating funds and development of project scope showed scant regard for community interest and desires, local knowledge, and the tenets of community engagement and consultation. It was disempowering to the Linden community,” Wright said.

In his effort to secure the scope of works for the project, Wright said he was told the scope has been finalised and that the contractors were chosen by selective tendering. This, it was stated, was necessary to expedite the process and that there was no time for further consultation.

He also expressed concern about traffic and environmental disruption and the fact that the stakeholders were not consulted on this.

“Management of builders’ waste is an essential part of the LM&TC waste management strategy and this project would have been an ideal opportunity to test it. Infrastructure projects offer great opportunity to get community buy in, raise awareness, and develop community ownership and cohesion,” he is quoted as saying, while making it clear that the development is welcomed but should have been done with a more consultative approach.

In 2019, a $10.5 Waterfront Facility was constructed on Burnham Drive, Wismar. This was part of a $60 M River Front Development Project, but it never reached fruition.

Lindeners were disappointed with the basic wooden facility that was erected on Burnham Drive, as the desire was to see a project that would push Linden’s aqua-tourism potential to the next level. Linden is the only town with a river passing through it.