The Waterfront and Marina Strategic Plan encompasses the entire length of Barrie’s waterfront.
After the Waterfront and Marina Strategic Plan was presented to General Committee in June 2013, City Council requested additional public consultation through a series of comprehensive surveys to gauge public opinion on how the waterfront should develop. Through these surveys and responses, the Waterfront and Marina Strategic Plan was presented back to General Committee and Council in June 2015 and was approved through Council Motion 15-G-129.
The final report identified a balanced approach to guide the future planning and development of Barrie’s waterfront including the implementation of future projects for consideration within the annual business plan process.
The principles of the waterfront to be public, green, connected, diverse, attractive, accessible, clean and well managed describe the core qualities that will define the waterfront and provide guidance and key direction for City Council and the public over time. The new Vision and the revised Principles can be found in greater detail in the final digital copy of the Strategic Plan report as follows:
The Waterfront and Marina Strategic Plan encompasses the entire length of Barrie’s waterfront, starting from Johnson’s Beach and the easterly limits of the North Shore Trail at Penetanguishene Road, including the westerly, southerly and easterly surroundings of Kempenfelt Bay and the City of Barrie marina, all the way to Wilkin’s Beach near the City’s easterly boundary with the Town of Innisfil.
Public input from two open houses and multiple stakeholder meetings revealed that conflicting visions exist for the future of the Barrie Waterfront. Is the Barrie Waterfront a recreational resource for City residents? Is it a tourist attraction and economic development engine? Is it a cultural resource and the location for various festivals and events? Is it a natural heritage resource that requires protection from all of this activity? Can it be all things to all people? These questions indicate that a clear vision is needed that will promote long-term decision-making that conforms to that vision.
It was found that Barrie’s waterfront is truly cherished by our residents. Some key features that emphasize its popularity are its scale, its tremendous connectivity to our City, and its ability to provide and accommodate multiple functions, events and programs. With these in mind, the City has avoided the reliance on a one-dimensional mega-project, opting instead for a multi-faceted waterfront that offers a balance of recreational and cultural opportunities to an array of residents and tourists.
Despite its established popularity, there is still room for improvement as our community grows. Quite simply, the demand for use of the waterfront is expected to increase significantly over the next 20 years. It will need to be managed carefully to ensure the existing high quality experience is maintained and that its natural functions are protected in consideration of its other functions as a recreational resource to the local and regional community, managed economic development opportunities and tourist attraction, and its cultural functions as the host of numerous events and festivals.
Furthermore, future plans will be part of the growth and development context within the City, complying with the Provincial Growth Plan, with a focus on intensification in the Urban Growth Centre and other identified nodes and corridors in the City, and the accommodation of substantial growth in the annexed lands in the southern part of the City.
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