The notion of renaming Innisfil ended almost as abruptly as it started after a week of frenzied protests from residents that included signs, a Facebook page, several written and online petitions, each with hundreds of names, outraged letters in local papers, and a Council Chamber packed with an overflow crowd, a local TV news crew and print media.
Although I haven’t been a regular visitor to past council meetings, I’d have to say this past week’s meeting will probably be remembered by everyone as an historic event. It was a spontaneous demonstration of pride in our community that the province would be wise to take note of. I was particularly impressed that the crowd included all segments of our community from earnest students and teachers to elderly long-time residents, pioneer families, farmers, and business owners. A mother and daughter sang their own catchy tribute song to Innisfil. Honestly, can Innisfil t-shirts and hats be far behind? Maybe some of our creative enterprises are freshly inspired to design new Innisfil paraphernalia.
Although the result was reported as the defeat of the proposal to change the Town’s name, the effective outcome was approval of the strategic planning report. This paves the way for appointment of key positions including an Economic Development Officer and an Events Coordinator. These are both essential to implementation of numerous fundamental actions in the strategic plan.
Although Innisfil doesn’t fit neatly into some of the provincial planners’ preconceived notions of regional development, the Town has now served notice that it is determined to reinvent itself on its own terms – not entirely rural nor urban – but still cohesive, sustainable and innovative. This is not a Town that provincial bureaucrats should trifle with. With a long-term plan, specific goals, a determined and focused council and a supportive community, Innisfil, “The Place to Be in 2020“, is the place to watch in 2011!