As I write this, Innisfil is making good on its promise to demolish the streetscape median east of St. John’s Rd. Let me share the result with you:
It only took a couple of whiners and an ignorant, weak-kneed council.
Apparently, a certain unelected individual has the power to veto town planning that was years in the making. The median was an attractive addition in all seasons and we had five good years before this myopic, small-minded and petulant act of municipal vandalism, but the truth is, saving the streetscape was a losing battle.
Too many residents and officials of Innisfil never took any pride of ownership in what was created. Shortly after the streetscape was completed, vandals started inflicting petty damage on metal railings and stone work. Some graffiti-punk defaced several buildings along the street including the Lakeshore Library as soon as it was built. A number of trees planted along the sidewalk were damaged. In winter, snow plow drivers caught the edge of planters with the blade and either smashed or ripped off the stone cap. One careless plow demolished a pair of waste receptacles over the first winter.
If that wasn’t enough, a couple of retailers made loud noises about how the median was a ‘hazard’ that interfered with traffic. There was never any quantitative evidence to substantiate that claim and, in spite of their whining, both businesses are busier (and larger) than ever.
That’s what we’ve been up against. Punks, drunks, hooligans, hostile retailers, and a don’t-care council.
The town itself failed to provide proper maintenance. Shrubs need a clip, and trees are left damaged and dying. At least one tree was choked by the wire brace that was put on when it was planted. Trees along the sidewalk are gasping for water in the current drought. Ironically, the trees and shrubs remaining in the surviving median, situated away from pedestrians, are the healthiest.
The grave site created in the middle of the road is an appropriate place to bury the town’s ambitions. I’m sure the hundreds of visitors to the park will be shocked by the latest ‘beautification’. And some new residents who thought they were moving into a progressive community will have their eyes opened to reality. Innisfil just isn’t ready to be “the place to be in 2020”. No vision. No leadership. No pride. No guts.