Mayor: “Everyone Needs to Pay Attention”

That was Mayor Brian Jackson, quoted in the Innisfil Scope, referring to a proposal to rezone the eastern end of Innisfil Beach Road for ‘commercial’ development (25th Sideroad to Lake Simcoe).

But he could just as easily have been referring to the $525,000 budget to develop a strategic plan for Innisfil, “Inspiring Innisfil – 2020”. Council authorized the Town to absorb 25% of the cost while the balance is coming from a federal agency.

The Innisfil Scope editorialized that the Town was “thinking too far ahead” and argued that “it threatens to be costly and premature”.  It’s interesting that Council has chosen to plunge into this exercise in an election year. Will Council and Mayoralty candidates take a public stand on various proposals or campaign on their vision ideas? There are two critical questions here

–       Do we need a strategic plan?

Experience in the US has shown that cities that are the most successful in creating vibrant and sustainable communities also have the highest level of citizen participation. If “Inspiring Innisfil” can actually succeed in inspiring residents to participate in mapping out the future of our community, then I am all for it. Too often it seems that Innisfil is like the proverbial tanker ship that needs another 10 miles to change direction. If the project led to the formation of one or more active citizen organizations it would be worth the investment. And if we could reach consensus on moving sustainability policies to the top of the agenda, so much the better.

–       Do we need to spend more than half a million dollars on it?

Council opted to “single source” the selection of the lead consultant but authorized the use of the Request for Quotation process to choose additional consultants for specific portions of the project. Let’s hope that this process is subject to sensible scrutiny.

Like Mayor Jackson said, speaking about Innisfil Beach Road, “It’s very important the public participate in this, because there will be a dramatic change down there.” You could say the same about all of Innisfil. The next 9 months will make a critical difference to our community. Please get involved … stay involved!

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2 thoughts on “Mayor: “Everyone Needs to Pay Attention”

  1. Bear in mind that $375,000 of that money comes from a federal grant; money that some other municipality would have received if Innisfil didn’t. So cost isn’t really an issue here. It will be more interesting to see if public consultation comes up with any kind of consensus in this community of communities. Let’s face Cookstown probably doesn’t care about what happens in Alcona and vice versa.

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