The City of Barrie has handed down a series of documents governing how infrastructure will grow along with the population.
Six Infrastructure Master Plans got the go-ahead from council Monday night; Water Supply, Water Storage and Distribution, Wastewater Treatment, Wastewater Collection, Drainage, and Transportation.
In crafting all six, city staff had to break out a fact-based crystal ball: these plans help guide development to the year 2041. It’s projected the population of Barrie will hit 253,000 people and 129,000 jobs by that time, and the city needs to have the water and roads for them.
“At the risk of being boring, this is a really, really really important item.” says Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman. “These are the plans that guide all of the public works that are going to be done to take the City of Barrie from 150,000 people today, to 250,000 in 2041. That’s $3 billion worth of public infrastructure over those twenty-odd years.”
Lehman adds there will be a focus on active transportation in these plans, but says all six are important “If you look at these six plans, you see what the future is for public works in the city, and transportation often gets the most interest, because it’s the one that affects our daily lives perhaps the most obviously. Although I would argue that you sure don’t want to get the water plan wrong, or the wastewater plan wrong either.”
The plans are a means of making sure the City doesn’t repeat the same mistakes. “We often hear the question that Barrie seemed to let its infrastructure get behind; growth got ahead of us, especially the roads system in the 90’s and the previous decade.” says Lehman. “And this is the way we make sure that doesn’t happen, by planning for the kind of development pressures that are going to come in advance.”
These plans are not written in stone; every guiding document within them is subject to annual budget approval, while the plans will be updated over time.