A gift of just over two acres of riverfront property could soon be bestowed upon the Town of Greater Napanee.
Larry Davey, who owns land between houses on Huffman Street and the Napanee River, has stated his intentions to donate it to the town. The space is located across the water from King Street Park.
His desire was spelled out in a letter, which was discussed during the March 23 council meeting, held at the Selby Community Hall and broadcast via the town’s YouTube channel.
“I’ll make the motion that we accept the donation as long as there’s no liabilities that we know of and it sounds like we’ve probably done our due diligences with it,” said councillor Terry Richardson. “I think it’s a great opportunity, I’m a big proponent of green space, especially in our community because I think it’s important.”
Brandt Zatterberg, general manager of community and corporate services with Greater Napanee, says he has been on the property and noted nothing of concern jumped out during an initial inspection.
“It is my dream to have this section of the Napanee River conserved for nature,” Davey wrote in his letter to council. “It is ideally situated across from municipally-owned parkland and would protect the riparian area on the east side of the river. I would be pleased for the municipality to accept this donation and to consider naming the property the “Helen Hutchison Nature Reserve” to honour a well-respected Napanee resident who did so much for her community and for our cultural and natural heritage.”
Davey added he has been working with the Land Conservancy for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington in regards to the donation and was prepared to donate $1,000 towards costs associated with the donation, such as a survey and an appraisal.
“The intent by going through the Land Conservancy is that it’d be left as green space and a nature reserve and not developed as a park,” said Zatterberg.
Mayor Marg Isbester says this particular piece of land, which has 1,200 feet of shoreline, is one the town has talked about acquiring for several years, dating back to her time as deputy mayor. Though it would be open for anyone to visit, the plan is to add as little as possible to the space.
“It could be that some of the passive things such as the butterfly and the bee gardens and so in, which both those organizations are very involved in, would be there,” said Isbester, referring to the Land Conservancy. “Not to say that there wouldn’t be access for people to walk through it, there could be paths but it’s not going to be playground equipment, it’s not going to be parking. It will be as natural as possible, across from another green space.”
If the land were to be donated to the town, it would mark the only riverfront property owned by the town that is above the falls at Springside Park.
-Speaking of the falls, the town will illuminate them blue May 17-23 in honour of Victoria Order of Nurses Week. The group had requested the Centre Street bridge be illuminated blue, but Isbester noted the town doesn’t have that ability, though it is something they could look into in the future.
-Greater Napanee Emergency Services fire prevention officer Kevin Duncan made his annual visit to council to inform them of their ongoing efforts to spread awareness of the importance of working smoke and CO2 alarms.
Noting that ‘fires don’t go away during COVID’, Duncan said GNES firefighters were still able to distribute educational materials to residents during the pandemic, including 2,000 door hangers and performing 50 inspections during emergency calls. A lack of working smoke alarms remains the biggest factor in all fire related deaths in Ontario.