A Beach for All: Town Forum Sep. 26

The local press reports that a number of people spoke about crowded weekend access to Innisfil Beach Park at the last Council meeting. A steady increase in the number of Alcona residents and a growing awareness of the Town as a recreational destination has strained our park resources to the limit during hot summer weather. Although recent complaints have focused on traffic issues, with affected residents requesting a slower posted speed, higher parking fines and No Stopping zones, others clearly feel that the real issue is over-crowding with spill-over to other area beaches. They complain about unsupervised off-leash pets, littering, illegal alcohol consumption and unauthorized boat launching at another local swimming area.

Some residents want the Town to consider creating a “residents only” beach area, asking, “Is it too much to ask that locals get one little piece of heaven to themselves?”. Innisfil still has some private beach facilities, such as the Alcona Beach Club (ABC) that were originally organized by groups of seasonal cottagers who gathered every summer. Later, as Innisfil changed and grew, permanent residents chose not to pay the private annual fees and club membership has dwindled.

The Inspiring Innisfil Implementation Report (2011) included a number of relevant suggestions:

3.1 Establish a Port of Innisfil with a transient marina providing dockage for temporary and overnight use.

3.2 Update the Innisfil Parks Master Plan to identify “end-of-the-road” Lake Simcoe access locations having capacity for limited parking. Improve them for public day use activities e.g. picnics, etc.

3.3 Take advantage of any future opportunities that arise for the Town of Innisfil to acquire lakefront property for greater public access.

3.6 Explore with marina operators and Big Bay Point Resort their willingness to … provide basic infrastructure such as parking and boat launch services on a commercial basis to both residents and visitors.

The Town is holding an Innisfil Beach Park ‘Open House and Forum’ at the Lakeshore Branch of Innisfil Public Library on Saturday, September 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Residents are encouraged to attend with suggestions “as to what they see as the future of Innisfil Beach Park and surrounding beach fronts”.

The fundamental problem is that lakeside property was the first to go into private hands probably 50 years ago or more, and no one is making more beaches or shore line. But we have been making a bigger and busier Town! Is a ‘beach for all’ possible?