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How did Sea Cadets' wishes morph into sports field?

Updated: May 13

Sharing on behalf of our friends at the Allandale Neighbourhood Association.

Allandale Neighbourhood Association

Allandale Neighbourhood Association urges council to reject lakeshore proposal, or search for alternative location with less 'ecological impact'

This combined 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 has morphed into the idea of a multi-purpose sports complex.  [*EBO note, the actual quote is 'multi-use concept', not '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 & Kayak Club and Barrie Rowing Club. This will run around $4 million. To us, this seems like an eminently sensible solution.

However, the idea of the parade ground has grown into an additional $5 million astro-turf spot for a "senior-level extended season multi-use complex."  [*see note above]  It will be lit, fenced with very high chain-link fencing — we imagine about 10 feet high, from the drawings — provided with an electronic scoreboard, and supplied with a PA system.

The playing field concept has grown steadily since last June. Prior to last September, there had been staff consultations with most of the youth sport groups, but "staff were unable to undertake full community and stakeholder consultations," according to a development services report from Sept. 20, 2023.

In the seven months following that report, consultations were limited to groups with a direct connection to the Southshore Centre.

There has been no public consultation on a combined project estimated to cost over $9 million.

As a result, the Allandale Neighbourhood Association has just learned about it.

The proposals went to general committee May 8 and next Wednesday they will go to city council for final approval.

Staff Report

The staff report, which recommends the development of the "senior-level extended season multi-use complex," [*see note above] quotes recommendations from the newly approved waterfront strategic plan from September 2023:

  • Page 25 recommends that “urban forest remnants remain in Allandale Station Park, Gables Park and Tynedale Park.”

  • Goal 4: Restorative

    • Action 4.1: Retain and protect environmental features, including the Kempenfelt Bay shoreline (plus a 30-metre buffer where feasible) and the remnant deciduous forest communities associated with the former Lake Algonquin shoreline.

    • Action 4.3: protect and enhance wildlife habitat and enhance biodiversity in naturalized areas along the shoreline.

    • Action 4.4: Design heavily frequented areas along the waterfront to minimize negative impacts to the ecology.

  • Page 62: “Support the City of Barrie’s Bee City pollinator initiatives through the increased provision of naturalized areas in activity centres and identification of opportunities for pollinator gardens in waterfront parks. Currently Allandale Station Park includes a pollinator meadow — this should be maintained and enhanced to continue to contribute to the program.” Barrie is a Bee City and bird-friendly city, which signifies Barrie’s commitment to pollinator conservation and bird protection.

Note that, unlike the proposal for the "senior-level extended season multi-use complex,” the waterfront strategic plan was developed with significant public consultation and input. [*see note above]

The proposal for the "senior-level extended season multi-use complex” [*] is recommended in the staff report. Implementing this proposal would involve cutting down almost half of the urban forest remnant in Allandale Station Park, bordering the Waterfront Heritage Trail, which is also part of the Trans Canada Trail.

The proposal indicates that this will have no net ecological effect, because one new sapling tree will be planted for each mature one they remove.

However, this implementation will divide a continuous woodland, with abundant wildlife, into two parts, each around a quarter of the size of the original woods, and no longer connected to each other.

Planting saplings in both parts may reproduce the number of trees removed. It will not, however, repair the damage to the urban forest remnant identified for protection in the waterfront strategic plan.

The area in which the replacement saplings will be planted is currently the pollinator meadow referred to in the 2023 waterfront strategic plan. The tree planting would be in conflict with the requirement to maintain and enhance the pollinator meadow.

We emphasize that we fully support re-locating the Sea Cadets to the Southshore Centre. Further, we have no objection to the creation of a "senior-level extended season multi-use complex.” [*see note above]

We do, however, strongly object to the placement of that complex [*] in the remnant deciduous forest in Allandale Station Park.

We urge council either to reject the complex [*] entirely, or to search for an alternative location that will not have such a major ecological impact.

Barbara Mackie

Allandale Neighbourhood Association, co-chair


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