A city architect with an international practice is proposing an elevated pier and pavilion on the St. Clair River as a way for Sarnia to celebrate its place in the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation next year.
The concept from David Lavender Architect would see an existing walkway on The Pointlands extended into the river, ending at a tubular stainless steel pavilion topped by an eternal flame.
“We need to link Centennial Park with the whole park system, and be creative in Sarnia and Point Edward,” Lavender said of the concept, which he calls Riverwalk 24/7/365.
“This is a feature that would be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. You could go there anytime, and not have to pay for it.”
Lavender said the pavilion’s design alludes to the wigwam summer homes of Sarnia’s indigenous people, and the flame is a nod to those who built the local refineries.
It ties together Sarnia’s chief characteristics – river, industry and Aamjiwnaang First Nation – and provides a spectacular vantage point from which to stare down Great Lakes freighters as they turn toward Lake Huron, he said.
Lavender estimates the project cost at $2 million. With Canada preparing to celebrate the sesquicentennial in 2017, there is project funding out there, he said.
Sources could include The Canada 150 Fund, matching donations through the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, federal community infrastructure funding, the Trillium Fund and donations from local industry and the public.
Lavender said he’s simply putting the concept out there for possible discussion.
“It would have to start with industry and government and the Chamber of Commerce saying, ‘We think this is a great idea.’
“That’s really the first step.”