The Project

About the Project

A jointly-owned project between the First Nation of Akwesasne and the Municipality of Cornwall, the Port Lands is ground breaking both for its spirit of partnership and for the huge potential benefits it can bring to the region and its communities. Together, Akwesasne and Cornwall will redevelop the formerly industrial harbour into a community destination that could include commercial, recreational, tourism and possibly residential spaces. Re-envisioning and redeveloping this valuable shared land will represent the most important economic development project ever for our region.

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Who owns the Port Lands?

The Akwesasne Harbourfront Development Corporation and the Cornwall Harbourfront Development Corporation are the official co-owners of the Port Lands.

A copy of the Co-Owners Agreement can be found here.

Why is the project significant?

On April 15th, 2016 the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and the Corporation of the City of Cornwall signed a historic agreement which resulted in the two bodies acquiring co-ownership of the Port Lands, land which had previously been owned and managed by Transport Canada.  As part of this agreement—one of the only agreements to recognize joint ownership between a municipality and a First Nation—the co-owners agreed to work together in a spirit of good faith, mutual respect, understanding and harmony in the planning, development and maintenance of the Port Lands.

Who is managing the project?

The Port Lands is a uniquely large and complex development project. To facilitate administration and ensure continued momentum, in 2020 the Co-Owners engaged the administrative services of Cornwall and the Counties Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC), an organization with a well-established history of acting as a connector and representative for both communities. The CFDC’s advisory arm, the Cross Border Partnership Program (CBPP) will lead the file. The CFDC, which is known for delivering meaningful engagement and defining strategies that lead to real, measurable results, is committed to advancing this project to the mutual benefit of all parties.

How is the project being funded?

Cornwall – Akwesasne Harbour Trust Fund

The Cornwall – Akwesasne Harbour Trust Fund was created to manage the funds received from Transport Canada upon the transfer of operations to the Cornwall Harbour Development Corporation (the “CHDC”) of the Corporation of the City of Cornwall and the Akwesasne Harbour Development Corporation (the “AHDC”) of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.

These funds can be used for eligible expenditures pursuant to the Contribution Agreement dated June 30, 2016 for the Cornwall – Akwesasne Harbour Partnership. The agreement stipulates the utilization of funds by June 27, 2026 or by June 27, 2030 if a mutual extension agreement is made in 2025.

About the Land

The Port Lands consist of a sixteen-acre parcel of land, adjoining water, and a commercial wharf. Due to the loss of industry along the river, today the port is only occasionally used by commercial ships, as well as the rare visit from a navy frigate or tall ship. As the owners look to the future, it will take on a new life as a commercial, recreational, and tourism asset (with possibility of residential use).

The Port Lands: A Brief History

Following the creation of the Seaway in 1956, local leadership announced the creation of a port in Cornwall to accommodate shipping and receiving for local factories. The harbour was officially opened at the foot of Edward Street in 1967. Annual traffic came primarily from the unloading of raw materials like coal and cotton, raw materials used by local factories like Courtaulds, Domtar Fine Papers, ICI Industries and other companies located in the area of the Cotton Mills.

Timeline

Seaway creation, Cornwall-side port development begins

Transport Canada begins operation of the Cornwall Port, servicing local businesses and offering shipping facilities for both government and private vessels

Historic agreement between the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, City of Cornwall

Post divesture period begins

Cornwall and the Counties Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) hired to act as the manager of the project