Trigger Change – Ban Handguns

As a matter of conscience, I have to add my voice to the campaign to ban hand guns and assault weapons in Canada. A national media campaign called Trigger Change is under way to urge Canadians to sign a petition with this objective. It is a project of the Coalition for Gun Control.

This online petition is directed to the House of Commons on the Parliamentary web site. The petition is open until March 2, 2019. So far, more than 2,700 residents of Ontario have signed this petition after a brief mention in the news media.

Violence doesn’t know any boundaries. Increasingly irrational incidents involving hand guns and assault weapons are alarmingly more common. If you’d like to stand up to it and add your voice for sensible change, this is the time and the opportunity.


First Nations of Simcoe County

Innisfil is named in reference to its Irish settlers and was itself formed through the amalgamation of a group of smaller European settlements. But through the Friends of the Library I recently learned of a new online resource, First Nations of Simcoe County, which provides an introduction to the Indigenous societies inhabiting the geographic region that we call Simcoe County today.

The history of contact with First Nations has been tragic in so many ways. We are just beginning to learn about the reality of the last few hundred years of European settlement. I encourage everyone to visit this site for greater insight into the original inhabitants of this region.

RVH Wants to Know

It seems like awfully short notice but RVH (officially Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre) is asking for public opinion on five potential sites for a new “south campus”. An online survey is accessible until midnight on Wednesday November 7.

A site selection committee considered issues like access, public transportation, future development and servicing, and potential for expansion in arriving at a short list of five possible locations.

The areas under consideration are:

  • Highway 400 corridor
  • North Stroud area
  • South Stroud/Yonge corridor
  • South Alcona
  • 6th Line & Yonge St. (Cortel development area)

The facility would be developed in stages, beginning with ambulatory care and an outpatient centre “within the next decade”. A full-service hospital may follow in 20 years. The hospital has a web link at

Cortel Group ‘donated’ 50 acres in 2009 under the terms that Innisfil would be responsible for recruiting a hospital developer. In 2019 the land reverts to Cortel Group ownership for $1 if the land is not used for that purpose.

Our Town, Our Vision

The election of a new Council inspires me to reflect on what has been and what might be. We elect a municipal Council to set policy and priorities, and to direct town staff in its implementation.

This should occupy our attention a lot more because we have to live with the consequences for years, even decades, to come. Yet, only a shameful 32.5% of eligible voters bothered to cast their ballot. But I’m sure the other 57% will still feel free to loudly complain about municipal politics over the next four years.

Is the poor turnout because many new residents are unfamiliar with local candidates and issues? Were they intimidated or confused by the online voting procedure? Does our increasingly urbanized, and socially fragmented electorate have less and less connection to their community? Did candidates just fail to inspire and motivate voters? Do promises to ‘limit taxes’ or improve ‘efficiency’ or ‘listen to the voters’ sound like the same tired and discredited ‘slogan’ politics that we’ve been hearing for years?

So what’s next? Beyond the vague pledges, what should our priorities be for the next four years? The broad outlines are still in the Official Plan: preservation of a rural atmosphere; preservation of agriculture; enhancement of distinctive neighbourhoods; development of a better business/commercial tax base; better transit; better connections between neighbourhoods; protection of Lake Simcoe; diversification into tourism.

A lot of Innisfil is still being built or is in the planning stages. In December 2015 there were 15 “draft approved plans” of subdivision involving a proposed total of 5,399 new residential units, of which 57% were single detached homes. So time may be running out to shape the kind of town we want. Continue reading

Innisfil This Week

On Saturday, October 20, Friends of the Library is hosting a Craft and Book Sale, also at Lakeshore Branch, from 10 a.m.

Voting in the municipal election closes at 8:00 pm on Monday, October 22. The Innisfil Journal reports that only 8% of residents had voted so far, earlier this week.

On Tuesday, October 23, Clint Lovell, author of The Boys From Barrie and Regret To Inform You, will be at the Cookstown branch of the library to  share stories of local soldiers in the First World War as well as some recent memorial activities with his students. He is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Copies of Clint’s books Regret to Inform You ($25) and The Boys From Barrie ($20) will be available for purchase. This event has been generously sponsored by the Friends of the Library.


Same Place, New Plan

We have been following the planning process for a vacant block of ‘L’ shaped properties on Innisfil Beach Rd. for the past four years (east from Jans Blvd. & Innisfil Beach Rd). An earlier submission, dating to May 2016, proposed a seven-storey mixed-use building, two single tenant restaurants, three blocks of townhouses, and a multi-tenant office and retail building.

In the meantime, the developer acquired the former site of Scotty’s Towing and added it to the development project. It encountered opposition at an open house, held on March 6, 2018, from residents living adjacent to the site who objected to a proposed roadway connecting planned new townhouses to Goshen Road.


Source: Staff Report DSR-150-18

On September 19, Town Council approved a zoning bylaw amendment concerning 1124, 1130, 1136 and 1154 Innisfil Beach Road. These zoning amendments divide the proposal into two phases. The purpose is to separate the townhouse proposal as a possible future phase:

“Consideration of development on lands originally proposed for the townhouses will be removed from the initial phase (this application), to give more time for the ongoing Environmental Impact Assessment and flood hazard assessment. The remaining balance of the proposal would constitute Phase 1 of the development. Phase 1 includes the same number of residential apartment units (147 units), commercial space (4,469 m2), and parking spaces (335) as was originally considered in Staff Report DSR-048-18. The layout of Phase 1 has been amended to accommodate the access options for Phase 2 should the Goshen Road connection not be possible. The Draft Plan of Subdivision application proposed to prepare the site for subsequent part lot control exemption related to the proposed townhouses, has therefore also been withdrawn.”

Planning staff conclude that the proposal “provides a compact, mixed-use development and an appropriate level of intensification on a vacant infill property located within an intensification corridor. The proposal provides for apartment style dwelling units that serve to diversify Alcona’s housing stock and opportunities for employment within Alcona’s key commercial corridor.” (Staff Report DSR-150-18)

“This application proposes the phased development containing the following components”:


Building ‘A’ – Mixed use residential/commercial with underground parking

  • seven storey mixed-use building containing 147 residential apartment units and 549 m2 of commercial space (referred to as Building A);
  • two one-storey single tenant buildings (restaurants) [with drive-through lanes] containing 217m2 and 239 m2 of commercial space (referred to as Building C and D);


Building ‘B’ – retail & commercial spaces

  • and a two-storey multi-tenant commercial building (office and retail) containing 3,464 m2 of commercial space (Building B).

“All elements listed above constitute Phase 1 of the proposed Site Plan Control application, currently under site plan review. Phase 1 is the subject of this Zoning By-law Amendment.”

Council directed Staff to “schedule a community consultation meeting as part of Site Plan Control approval for the lands at 1124, 1130, 1136, and 1154 Innisfil Beach Road, inviting Councillors from Wards 3 and 4”.

Previously published: