It’s been an instructive year since I started writing this blog. While I took the opportunity to express my opinion on a whole range of controversial topics, I also benefited from getting readers’ comments, encountering a wide range of organizations in our community and meeting interesting and dedicated individuals who are also keen to help build a better community.
One of the blog’s objectives was to provide a handy source for busy residents to keep up with local events. Here are a few more important approaching dates:
- Wednesday, July 13 – Council receives a staff report on Innisfil Farmers’ Market
Council will consider a staff report concerning the planning of a local Farmers’ Market.
- Thursday, July 28 – Innisfil Farmers’ Market scheduled to begin
Assuming approvals are in place, Innisfil Farmers’ Market will launch its first market day at the Innisfil Recreational Complex from 2 pm to 7 pm. The Market will continue every Thursday afternoon until October 6.
- Saturday, August 6 – Celebrate Lake Simcoe
Ladies of the Lake and other environmental partners host the second annual Celebrate Lake Simcoe event at Innisfil Beach Park.
This year an admission fee will help defray expenses and raise funds to support the participating organizations Park admission is free to Innisfil residents. Non-residents who visit the exhibits and can earn a parking pass for another day.
Writing over 70 articles led to more than 4,000 ‘views’ of blog content. For the time being, I’ve created an archive page of older articles arranged by topic. It seems like a good time now to review what’s been happening in Innisfil and around Simcoe County:
Inspiring Innisfil 2020
I had the good fortune to start blogging just as Innisfil’s strategic planning process was getting started. Since then, Council has endorsed an ambitious multi-year plan for economic, cultural and tourism development. A key recommendation was the hiring of 3 leadership positions for economic development, communications and events planning.
last two positions are filled. The hiring process is under way for the position of Economic Development Officer. These individuals will be responsible for driving implementation of many recommendations in the strategic plan.
A meeting of interested stakeholders was recently held to organize an Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee. A second public meeting is being scheduled for July 12 at Town Hall to plan a formal structure.
Downtown Urbanization Project
The ambitious plan for a restructured streetscape along Innisfil Beach Road has been quietly suspended for the time being. Concerns about costs, maintenance, and altered traffic patterns caused conflict. It had the unfortunate effect of pitting one neighbourhood against another by portraying the project as depriving other neighbourhoods of needed road improvements. The Inspiring Innisfil plan raised financial stability as one of the Town’s first goals and that is presumably the current focus. (www.innisfil.ca/ibr/)
There are about 70 applications in Innisfil for solar projects under the micro-FIT program that guarantees a set rate for this clean energy and 27 projects have been connected to the grid. The Town is installing a demonstration project behind the old town hall and Grasshopper Solar Corp. is scheduled to begin construction in about 2 weeks. Several solar arrays are visible on farms along Yonge St. and Innisfil Beach Rd.
Time-of-Use (TOU) electric billing was also a hot topic. Introduction was delayed in Innisfil to allow for the required proper notice to customers. TOU metering began on June 1 and should appear for the first time on the next Innisfil Hydro bill.
- Melancthon Mega-Quarry
The Site 41 battle has been succeeded by another disturbing proposal that is seeking provincial approval through the Ministry of Natural Resources. Preparations for a giant quarry in Melancthon Township could potentially disrupt five major watersheds and negatively affect water supply to about a third of Ontario’s population. Remarkably, no environmental review is currently required. An opportunity for public comment via the online Environmental Registry expires today, July 11. (more info:www.aware-simcoe.ca)
- Site 41 Dump Site
The proposed Site 41 dump site was defeated and the land has been sectioned into four parcels. The County is keeping one parcel and returning the other 3 to agricultural zoning for eventual sale. A proposal from a leading scientist to create a water research centre on the whole site did not receive enough support at County Council.
- User-Pay Garbage Collection
A County proposal to introduce pay-per-bag garbage pick-up as part of a long-term, zero-waste strategy caused a lot of controversy. Although most County residents have a respectable record of recycling, some residents put a fair amount of organics and other recyclable materials with other garbage. The County backed off the user-pay plan while it considers other options to improve recycling. (More info: http://www.zerowastesimcoe.org)
- Simcoe County Trails Network
Simcoe County recently held a public information session describing its three-phase plan (to 2018) for an extensive network of public trails throughout Simcoe County. The County’s role has been to bring together a wide range of interested stakeholders, the development of a detailed set of common building standards for the trail network, and a phased approach to development. In Innisfil, the plan recognizes Yonge Street and Innisfil Beach Road as potential trail corridors with a possible connection to the existing trail from Thornton to Cookstown. (more info: trails)