The Innisfil Beach Master Plan made news again this week. The online report from Innisfil Today (Staff admit steps were missed in Innisfil Beach Park Plan, Sep 25, 2020) makes for interesting reading.
Staff brought forward a report on the Master Plan near the end of a four hour Council meeting. The report concerned the hiring of a consultant to examine a variety of potential impacts (traffic, geotechnical, utilities, etc.) as well as costs and project phasing “and a detailed plan of which projects are to occur in which order.”
However, the staff report also included authorization to implement two proposed amenities in the Master Plan using pre-approved funding. Staff intended to proceed with approved projects – an outdoor fitness installation ($233,000) as well as other items not yet approved, which included a BMX pump track ($292,000; high priority, 2-3 years in the Master Plan Final Report) and removal of the concrete pier. In previously endorsing the park “vision”, Council reallocated $2.58 of funding for park improvements such as “automated parking gates, solar lighting, outdoor fitness, and a docking system” into the Master Park Plan.
Councillor Orsatti pointed out that the staff report was “inconsistent with the motion” that endorsed the “vision” for the park but deferred specific project approvals for later budget deliberations. Although staff said, “There is also a lot of anticipation from the community to see some park improvement projects started in Innisfil Beach Park sooner than 2022”, Council voted 6 to 2 to refer discussion to the Budget period, agreeing that it was inappropriate to proceed with projects without Council input and ahead of the consultant’s implementation plan.
Councillor Orsatti added, “all of council understood that we would look at all the amenities that were recommended. It wasn’t sanctioned that all 43 of them were approved. Maybe the vision is, but not all the items.”
I think the obvious flaw in the Innisfil Beach Master Plan is that possible alternative sites are not being considered or proposed for some of the 43 project items listed for the park. Do we need all 43 items at Innisfil Beach Park? Could some of them be more usefully located elsewhere in our town? Without going through an itemized list, I would suggest the answer is “yes”. I believe opportunities exist to leverage some of these projects in a way to also advance our ‘downtown’ vision. I would welcome a broader perspective.