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Get Engaged re: Multi-Use Sports Field proposed for Southshore Centre

Updated: May 22

We're posting this on behalf of our friends at the Allandale Neighbourhood Association.


EBO is very concerned about the complete lack of public consultation on this issue, especially since this proposal has apparently been "in the works" since last summer, and involves a very large chunk of public land at the waterfront being removed from public access, as well as the de-naturalization of a beautiful natural waterfront area.


We were also highly upset at the way certain councillors, especially Deputy Mayor Thomson, portrayed those with concerns about the proposal -- referring to them as "obstructionists", and intimating they were against the Sea Cadets and/or children's sports if they had any concerns about developing a fenced-off sports field at the waterfront.


This disrespect of the public and the public process seems to have become a hallmark of this term of Council.


Please look for additional links at the bottom of the page -- we will update as new items come in.

 
Allandale Neighbourhood Association

More History and Background on Sea Cadets Relocation and Mulit-use Sports Field Waterfront


For those who have not yet read through the reports a bit of background history on the Sea Cadet Relocation, Parade Grounds and Multi-use Sports field.


The proposal has apparently been in the works since June of 2023. It started with discussions about moving the Sea Cadets to a new spot on the south shore. Consensus is (and we agree) that a new place is critical. Originally the Sea Cadets had a quite grand shopping list. One of the items was a parade ground. Somehow, this morphed into the idea of a multi-purpose sports complex.


The probable new location for the Sea Cadets is an addition to the basement of the Southshore Centre, to expand the facilities currently used by the Barrie Canoe and Rowing Clubs. This will run around $4M. To us, this seems like an eminently sensible solution. However, the idea of the parade ground has grown into this additional $5M astro-turf spot for a "senior-level extended season multi-use complex". It will be lit, fenced with very high chain link fencing (I imagine about 10 feet high, from the drawings) and provided with an electronic scoreboard, and probably a PA system.


The playing field concept has grown steadily since last September. There have been staff consultations with most of the athletic groups, but there "has been no time for public consultation".


As a result, we just learned about it on the weekend.


It went to General Committee May 8th and passed with only one dissenting vote. I don't think the story would be in the news at all, except that we have told CTV News and Barrie Today about it, after we found out.


Next Wednesday it will go to Council, and most probably will be passed there too.


We have no idea of the source of the multi-use complex, but we think it is clear that there has been some outside influence.


We have 3 Staff Reports and documents that tell the story, one from September 30 2023, one from April 2024 showing the design for the Sea Cadet addition to the Southshore Centre, and two reports prepared for the General committee last night (May 8, 2024)


"We" are Barbara Mackie and Cathy Colebatch, co-chairs of the Allandale Neighbourhood Association, myself, a past chair of the ANA, Arnie Ivsins, a long-time member of the ANA, and a couple of other people aligned with the ANA.


The problem with the multi-use complex is that it involves cutting down almost half of the one remaining piece of mature woodlands on the shore of Kempenfelt Bay, bordering the Waterfront Heritage Trail. This trail is also part of the Trans Canada Trail. They say that this will have no net ecological effect, because they will plant one new tree (sapling!) for each mature one they remove. This process will divide a continuous woodland, with abundant wildlife, into two parts, each around a quarter of the size of the original woods. These parts will not be connected.


The Mayor says that the city has absolutely no other place in which to put the complex. I can think of several.


I'm planning to make a deputation at next Wednesday May 15th @ 7:00pm


Please consider attending the meeting at 70 Barrie City Hall 70 Collier St using the back entrance and up to the Council Chambers on the 2nd floor, to show support.


If you would like to do a Deputation (speak directly to our Mayor and Council) please reach out to cityclerks@barrie.ca requesting to do a Deputation on Wed May 15 @ 7:00pm. Deputation time limit is max 5 minutes


You can also send your written submission and comments directly to jim.harris@barrie.ca and cityclerks@barrie.ca requesting they be added to the circulation list.


CTV News Link


General Committee Mtg May 8th

you can hear all comments from each of the Councils and Mayor Nuttall


Cheers,

Bill



Related Links:



Allandale Neighbourhood Association: https://www.facebook.com/AllandaleCommunity


Background Information:


Other Posts, Media Stories:

1 Comment


Hey everyone. I know this is super last-minute, but people from the Allandale Neighbourhood Association are going to be meeting to talk about this over snacks tonight from 6-8 p.m. at the Wickie's Pub on Burton Avenue, and they say that anyone who wants to join in, is welcome. I'm not sure if I'm going, but it'd be a good way to find out more about the situation, and share our concerns.

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