Published June 18, 2024

(Updated) No jumping for joy as opponents pile on what City of Barrie says is refined plan for sports field

Updated June 18, 2024 @ 7:31pm

A multi-purpose syntethic turf sports field will be smaller and closer to Lakeshore Drive, and the woodlot will be protected, the City of Barrie announced in a news release on Tuesday.

"This refined location ensures the woodlot is protected. If any trees need to be removed, they will be replaced. Council has committed to planting an additional 1,000 trees on the waterfront and to protecting the Vimy trees. The Vimy trees are not thriving in their current location and as a result, they are planned to be transplanted and relocated to a location that will provide for a better chance of survival," the news release stated.

The City of Barrie said on Tuesday it has refined the location of the sports field on Lakeshore Drive (Image supplied - City of Barrie - June 17, 2024

Brian Miller of Friends of Allandale Station Park says he was taken aback by the wording of the release, in particular with myth vs fact as it pertains to a video the city also included in its update.

"I know they've put things in there that I know us as a group have not been indicating. I know our Facebook page blew up on it and I know there are comments on the city site about it, and a lot of people are upset about the way its come out. Unfortunately, nothing has really changed with what they've released."

In recent weeks, there have been two protests at City Hall in opposition to the location of the field, which is to be east of Military Heritage Park, and the last one drew about 300 people.

For sports, the field would be for youth football, lacrosse, rugby and soccer. In addition, there could be benches, site furnishings and lighting. A section of the field would also be used by the Sea Cadetes for parading.

Last month, city council voted 9-2 in favour of the field, with opposition from Coun. Jim Harris, whose Ward includes where the field is to be located, and Coun. Amy Courser.

At that meeting, councillors heard from opponents and those who felt Barrie needed more playing fields.

"The Waterfront Strategic Plan does not advise bulldozing a forested field and habitat and replacing it with artificial turf and fencing it in. Alternatives need to be investigated before targeting this natural environment, a feature that cannot be replaced by simple tree planting," said Cherin Harris Tuck of the Minet's Point Residents' Community in her deputation to council that evening.

At the same meeting, Will Devellis, President of the Barrie Soccer Club, said they had over 4,000 members but were challenged to train and compete outdoors, as he noted the city does not have enough all-weather fields

The sports field tab is $4.6 million which is being funded through development charges and reserves.

The property is zoned and designated open space (OS), which allows for the development of a multi-use sports field.

The night city council approved the sports field, councillors also rubberstamped the move of the Sea Cadets from their decades-old home near the transient docks at the bottom of Bayfield Street to the lower level of the General John Hayter Southshore Community Centre, at a cost of $4.55 million.

The city said in its news release that there will be additional public consultation in the fall.

"Residents will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the design and layout considerations like natural buffer options, fences, parking and lighting."

Included in the media release, the city added a video which it says "provides facts to some of the myths regarding the Sea Cadets parade ground and multi-use sports field."

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