Claire’s Malcolmson’s letter to The Scope, which appeared in the May 28th edition, shows a level of understanding shared by many of the electorate here in Innisfil.
There are many wellinformed voters who are writing letters, attending council meetings and having discussions by the water cooler. Rampant directionless development is what people are talking about.
My brother John Hurd made protecting the lake part of his campaign when he challenged Bill Van Berkel for the Ward 2 council seat in 2006. I remember chuckling with John when all of a sudden all the candidates were talking about how much cleaning-up the lake was a priority for them. Where are they now? Perhaps they are too busy protecting our historical buildings from the developer’s wrecking ball, or keeping tax increases low – I say with tongue firmly in cheek.
We can do our part to protect our lake by not allowing any new development in the watershed. Malcolmson is absolutely correct when she mentions that we must assure that our human activity around the lake does no further damage.
You can’t tell me with a straight face that 1,000 boats mooring at the future Big Bay Point Resort, along with 1,600 condominiums and 400 hotel rooms won’t impact the lake. If you believe the builder’s radio ads, it will actually benefit the lake.
How did we get into this mess? It’s simple really, a total lack of future planning by Innisfil council over the past 38 years. The only plan has been, centred around whatever the developer wants. Surely we can find some local leadership to help wake us from this very long bad dream.
Innisfil needs infrastructure and Barrie needs land. This is a headline in 2008, just as it was in 1970. All these years could have been spent building our own infrastructure as a long term plan; instead, we have a lovely recreational complex in a farmer’s field.
It’s no secret that Barrie did not plan for the explosive population growth from 31,000 in 1975 (Innisfil’s current population), to its 135,000 today. The people are still coming to Barrie, but there is precious little developable land left. It was 1970 when Barrie annexed 40.5 hectares (100 acres) from Innisfil for the Molson brewery. The last round between Barrie and Innisfil was between 1977 and 1981. Barrie annexed 8,800 hectares (21,745 acres) of developable land in Innisfil after a legal battle stretching from the Ontario Municipal Board to the Supreme Court. The result was the Barrie-Innisfil Annexation Act of 1981, which prohibits Barrie from pursuing future annexations of 2,500 hectares (6,178 acres) in northern Innisfil before 2012, unless Innisfil agrees. This land is commonly referred to as the moratorium lands.
The province will rule in 2012 on this land, unless Barrie and Innisfil make their own agreement. Council did no service to the residents of Innisfil by walking away from these negotiations earlier this year. In the end, Barrie will get the land, have no doubt about that. Council’s inability to understand this fact and act accordingly in Innisfil’s best interests is shameful.
Development is inevitable but we must have the good sense to plan it. What do we want our communities to look like in 20 years? I’m not sure myself, but I do know that I don’t want Lefroy to look like a subdivision in Markham.
Larry Hurd,