“We want to bring in someone who can bring it (marina) to a new level,” said Lisa Burroughs, parks and recreation director, during the August 14 council teleconference session.
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Marine history at L’Orignal
Jennifer Laforest, township senior planner, presented a brief history of L’Orignal’s boating heritage as part of the parks and recreation proposal for hiring a marina operator.
The present marina is located at what was the original boat launch site for the Anchorage Estate, east of L’Orignal Bay in the 1840s. Local merchant John Millar built a pier there for private commercial and recreational use. Ten years later the federal government bought the pier site and built a 3000-foot wharf to serve commercial river traffic on the Ottawa River.
During the 1940s the wharf was dismantled as commercial river traffic declined. Then in 1977 the federal government set up the Small Craft Harbour Program to develop 300 freshwater wharfs throughout the country into recreational harbours. A decade later the Township of L’Orignal and the federal government signed a management agreement for the L’Orignal wharf, with the wharf becoming federal property which the township would manage.
Over the years since then, first with L’Orignal Township and then with Champlain Township, the wharf site has been a joint federal/municipal operation. The federal government helped fund various improvements over the years, including development of a marina office, gas pump service for boaters, creation of a causeway and boardwalk, and a floating breakwater.
The municipality managed what had become a regular marina operation that was considered a municipal asset. Now the plan is to hire a private operator to manage the marina and help it become part of the economic development future for both the Village of L’Orignal and Champlain Township.
Council voted approval to have the parks and recreation department to prepare a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a marina operator. The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans will review the RFP before it is published.