Parks announces plans to redevelop marina along Niagara Parkway in Fort Erie

The agency is pouring nearly $20 million into reviving the prime waterfront site over the next three years. Photo credit: Niagara Parks


After nearly two decades of fits and starts, speculation, promises, and planning, Miller’s Creek Marina in Fort Erie is finally set for a revival.

In a press release on Wednesday, the Niagara Parks Commission, which owns and operates the marina, announced that the agency would be investing $19 million of its earned revenue over the next three years to entirely redevelop the property along the south Niagara Parkway.

The goal of the redevelopment, according to the Parks, is “to create a new recreational waterfront destination along the shores of the upper Niagara River with increased public access and amenities.”

“The Niagara Parks Marina remains a key priority for Niagara Parks and a site that holds great potential for supporting new and repeat visitation to the area,” said Parks chair April Jeffs.

“We know how beloved this site is within the local community and we are proud to invest in its redevelopment to establish the marina as a new recreational hub along the south Niagara Parkway, providing benefits both for local residents and those visiting for the first time.”

Located 22 kilometres south of the Horseshoe Falls, Miller’s Creek Marina is the only marina on the Canadian side of the upper Niagara River and currently accommodates 110 seasonal boat slips.

The waterfront property has been owned by the Parks since 1957.

The proposed redevelopment plans include increasing the number of slips to over 200, while also expanding public use of the marina through amenities such as a new restaurant and outdoor patio space, retail store, new public washrooms, areas for fishing, a new public boat launch and recreational public space throughout the waterfront area. The plans will also include infrastructure to support fishing charters and excursions.

“This announcement by Niagara Parks brings to life a process that began nearly 20 years ago when it was understood that the marina could not continue in its current form but had the potential to become a tourism destination if properly envisioned.  An expanded and enhanced marina at Miller’s Creek will attract new investment, tourists and employment while providing creator opportunities for recreation and enjoyment.  I commend the NPC for moving forward with this significant project along the Niagara River in Fort Erie.” said Mayor Wayne Redekop of Fort Erie.

The Parks will be issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the design-build of the new marina, with the agency remaining the owner and operator of the site.

A key component of the redevelopment process will include public consultation to gain feedback from existing slipholders and the local community.

“Niagara Parks’ planned redevelopment of its marina property will create a new recreational destination for the boating community, tourists and locals to enjoy,” said Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Neil Lumsden.

“The improved public access and amenities that this new marina promises to offer will transform the Niagara River shoreline – benefitting the local economy and creating good-paying jobs.”

Back in 2006, the Parks announced it was going to shut down the site, saying it was costing more money to maintain than it was generating.

However, the Town of Fort Erie and its economic development corporation at the time urged the Parks to keep the marina open.

In 2012, plans for a $120 million third-party redevelopment were proposed, but eventually abandoned. Other plans were put forward to revive the marina thereafter, but they too were abandoned.

Throughout the decades, the marina site has been occupied and utilized in a variety of ways. From 1903 to 1930, the site hosted shipbuilding and repair facilities, as well as a metal foundry and fabrication factory. After being purchased by the Parks in 1957, a small boat launch was established in 1965. The current marina was developed in 1968, and when first opened allowed for 54 boat slips. Additional boat slips were added in 1975.

Current site amenities include a public boat launch and separate day-use trailer parking area, waste tank pump outs, marine fuel sales, a bike fix-it station, water filling station, charcoal BBQs and picnic tables, washrooms and showers, and parking.

The new marina, per the Parks, “will become an improved waterfront destination along the south Niagara Parkway, supporting new visitation and tourism to the area while potentially attracting more future investment around the site and providing a positive economic impact for Niagara Parks, the Town of Fort Erie and the entire region.”

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