Proposed Viewing Platform Would Dramatically Improve Experience For Tobermory Visitors

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Proposed viewing deck along the south/east wall of Tobermory’s Little Tub Harbour. A paving stone or flagstone surface is proposed for the lower terrace, a grass surface for the higher terrace and a wood deck for the area north and east of the Minch anchor. Note that the lower terrace is wheelchair-accessible at the west end and the upper terraces are directly accessible from the adjacent sidewalk. Existing native trees will be left in place.

By John Francis, Bruce Peninsula Press

You see them almost every summer day at the head of Little Tub Harbour — people aimlessly looking for something to do. It’s not that the head of the harbour isn’t a lovely spot, it’s just that there’s no place to appreciate it from.

Tobermory Chamber of Commerce set out to change that.

The Chamber struck a committee in 2020 to look at ways to improve the visitor experience in Tobermory. Members included Helen McFarlane and Kent Wilkens, whose businesses (The Sweet Shop and the Golden Gallery) overlook the head of Little Tub. They have been watching pedestrian flow for decades.

The committee came up with several suggestions, the most popular of which is a viewing deck above the low cliff on the south side of the harbour. The project name is the Minch Anchor Deck, because it will be adjacent to the anchor.

Everybody they consulted loved the idea; it was just a matter of finding the best configuration. The ideal viewing deck would be easily accessible from above and below, would offer easy access to adjacent washrooms, would be wheelchair accessible and would subtly discourage people from eating and drinking. After many meetings and several draft proposals, Kent Wilkens made scale drawings of three versions. The most popular of the three is included here. With limestone block supporting walls, tempered glass rails and paving stone surface on the lower terrace, the cost is estimated to be close to $250,000. The proposal asks that this be funded out of paid parking revenues.

The view from what would be the northeast corner of the Minch Anchor Deck. Native trees will be left in place.

It would be an obvious win in several ways. It would be a dramatic improvement to the experience offered to the casual visitor (as well as to local residents), making it obvious why they had to pay for parking. It would also be a clearly visible accomplishment from paid parking revenues — something which hasn’t happened yet.

The Chamber of Commerce has sent the proposal to staff and council at MNBP.

The Chamber of Commerce is hopeful that their proposal will meet with Council’s approval and that a public consultation process can begin shortly.

In the interim, Tobermory Chamber of Commerce welcomes public input on the project: email [email protected]