Krystine Therriault – Seaway News
Formerly NAV CANADA’s NAV Centre, the DEV Center and its DEV Hotel and Conference Center are the largest hotel and conference center in eastern Ontario. A business and leisure center that many of us have visited in Cornwall over the years, the DEV Center is set in 75 acres of grounds on the St Lawrence River.
Jean-Pierre Poulin, CEO of DEVCORE, the new landowner, shared his vision at the Eastern Ontario Municipal Conference held at the center last week and indicated he is in high-level talks with Akwesasne as a key neighbor and partner in the process of developing the waterfront strategy. In a statement, Jean-Pierre noted that he intends to work together on the development plan: “The DEVCORE group also intends to work with the City of Cornwall and others through the establishment of a steering committee. This ensures that stakeholders’ thoughts are heard throughout the process.”
A frequently asked question is ‘what will happen to the stone house built in 1850?’ BBB Architects’ Ritchard Brisbin confirms that residents of Cornwall and the surrounding area can be assured that the Stone House will be included in the planning to keep it intact.
Kim Coe-Turner, DEV Center’s Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations, was with NAV Center for 15 years prior to the DEVCORE acquisition and joined NAV Center.
“I’m very excited. The DEVCORE acquisition offers Cornwall many opportunities, it’s going to be a great thing,” shared Kim. “The DEVCORE Group is delighted to have such a warm welcome to Cornwall. This will boost tourism and build more homes that are so desperately needed in our area.”
It’s no secret that Ontario (and our region in particular) has a real need for a good workforce. Like NAV CANADA in the past, DEVCORE has been working with Immigration Canada over the past 5 weeks to welcome new Canadians, many of whom are seeking asylum.
Coming from many countries including Africa, South America and Turkey, these immigrants are very relieved and happy to be here. There are currently around 350-400 people on site. DEVCORE works with several local authorities, including the Red Cross, to support the resettlement process and help people get work permits.
One of the issues with attracting and retaining workers in the area is not the number of jobs available, but the lack of affordable housing, which has severely impacted Cornwall’s residents, old and new, since the pandemic.
Part of DEVCORE’s plan is the construction of two waterfront residential units, a retirement home and a low-rise housing development behind the main conference center. Transitional apartments are also planned, which will serve as short-term rentals for job seekers and may also contain income-oriented units in some cases.
Other plans in the pipeline include many public spaces such as a linear park, beach and marina, botanical gardens and green spaces, and a hotel outside of the main conference and training center.
When it comes to design, DEVCORE focuses on ecological sustainability. They plan to reduce their carbon footprint with innovative technologies and energy methods like the 1VALET system to create smarter homes and buildings.