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Proposed lakeside sports field will be hot topic at Barrie council tonight

'That’s the one unspoiled natural heritage environment left along the waterfront,' says Allandale Neighbourhood Association member
This map shows how a proposed multi-purpose youth sports field could be built along Barrie's waterfront.

Those with an opinion on Barrie’s south shore will have their say tonight and then some.

City council will hear about 17 deputations, both pro and con, about a new multi-purpose, youth sports field and parade ground east of Military Heritage Park, along Lakeshore Drive, and an addition to Southshore Centre for the Sea Cadets’ new home.

Council will consider final approval of these projects at Wednesday's meeting.

The synthetic turf sports field/parade grounds would measure 100-by-154 metres in size and the Southshore addition would be 600 square metres. They carry a combined cost of more than $9 million to build.

Cathy Colebatch, a member of the Allandale Neighbourhood Association (ANA), will be one of the speakers, questioning the location of the sports field.

“Why on earth would we take up our natural heritage land and space, that everybody can use, for a sports facility that may only be used six months a year,” she asked. “Absolutely it’s not the right use for where it’s to be situated.

“It’s going to take away the natural urban environment that, through the waterfront master plan, had a lot of public engagement,” Colebatch said. “That’s the one unspoiled natural heritage environment left along the waterfront.”

She and many others in the ANA would like council to instruct city staff to go back and have another look at all of the spaces around Barrie where this field could be built instead, and to slow the approval process.

“What’s the hurry? We need to take our time and have a look at the existing fields we have; maybe some of those fields could be rejigged to accommodate them,” Colebatch said. “We know that we need more sports fields.”

David Brophey and his daughter, Olivia, have also asked to speak tonight in support of the artificial turf field.

“She can provide the next generation’s point of view on this matter,” Brophey wrote in his deputation application.

Tim Sample has also asked to speak.

“Emphasis will be on the future of our youth and what these facility offerings will mean,” he wrote.

Valeriya Zavalna asked to voice her opposition to the new sports field.

“This development would prevent many people from enjoying the shoreline. Further, this development would create a lot more traffic and parking issues,” Zavalna wrote. “The city's outlook was to move toward a more bike-friendly, pedestrian-friendly city. I believe this development does the opposite.” 

Cherin Harris-Tuck, a member of the Minet's Point Residents’ Community group, has also asked for a deputation.

“To ask for council’s consideration — prior to approving — to hold widespread public consultation and implement studies for traffic, environment, artificial turf and noise implications for long-term needs,” Harris-Tuck wrote. 

Representatives of Barrie Soccer Club, high school football, Blacks For All Races and the Barrie Canoe and Kayak Club have also asked for deputations, along with residents with no identified affiliations, such as Tom Ewles.

“Usually only participants of the sport and/or their parents attend these activities,” he wrote of minor sports. “Having a facility on the waterfront exposes the non-sporting user to not only another entertainment venue that they could watch or observe while there, but also exposes ‘youth’ activity and its benefits to the general public.

“Also youth to an environment not exclusive to sport. Sport, like the arts and culture, are strong builders of community and should be together, not competing with each other," Ewles added. 

Trish Young does not favour the field at this location.

“The multi-use court can occur anywhere, the waterfront cannot,” she wrote. “Please do not take this land away from un-programmed, nature use which serves passive recreational goals and contributes to the mental health and fitness goals of many residents," Young wrote. 

The proposed multi-purpose sports field for youth and parade ground for the Sea Cadets would be located east of Military Heritage Park, a field for soccer, rugby, football and lacrosse. There would also be amenities such as lighting, benches and site furnishings. 

This property is zoned and designated open space (OS), which permits the development of a multi-purpose sports field. Accessory uses permitted in OS zoning include bleachers, a clubhouse, a concession stand, and a refreshment pavilion or booth. Parking is also permitted within OS zoning. A paved asphalt, 35-stall parking lot is proposed for the sports field.

The project includes a premium synthetic turf, multi-purpose sports field concept, and is estimated to cost $4.6 million. The funding would come from three city reserves — development charges, tax capital and cash-in-lieu of parkland.

From the date of project approval by council to project completion, the proposed sports field project requires a minimum of 16 months to build, including the winter season.

The Sea Cadets, a group long located near the Spirit Catcher, would move to a 600-sq.-m. addition to the Southshore Centre, a northerly extension to the basement of the existing building. It comes with a $4.55-million price tag.

At this point, $300,000 would be committed for the addition’s plan and design. City staff would report back to councillors for future construction funding approval, once costing is refined through the design process.

Navy League branch president Diane Chislett has said the Sea Cadets have been looking for a new facility for close to 40 years, and the multi-purpose field would allow parades outside by the military park and outdoor graduations.

An addition to the north side of the Southshore building would also result in an expanded upper patio area. This could be a significant benefit to the rental space on the upper floor, as weddings and other events would have the added use of a large patio, with the backdrop of Kempenfelt Bay.

The location for the proposed addition is approximately five metres above the lake elevation. The increased slope to be introduced between the proposed Southshore expansion and Kempenfelt Bay is significant, according to city staff, and the detailed design will need to accommodate lake access and the transportation of boats between the lake and the building.

The Barrie Canoe and Kayak Club, as well as the Barrie Rowing Club, each occupy space on the lower level of Southshore Centre, with access to Kempenfelt Bay on the north side of the building. The space is primarily utilized as storage for canoes, kayaks and boats. A floating dock is shared between the two groups and is accessed by an asphalt path.

The Rotary Club of Barrie and the Rotary Club of Barrie Huronia occupy the upper level on the south side of the community centre for their regular meetings.

This space is primarily utilized to host a variety of community events, social functions and organization meetings.