February 2012

Bonnie Wrote to the Barrie Examiner

 I have a few things I would like to write about today and feel grateful for this column opportunity.

 Over the past year I have had many conversations with Constituents, Mayor Lehman and City Staff regarding the deplorable condition of some roadways in old Barrie.  You may know Council approved a million dollars in this yearís budget specifically for a program dedicated to revitalizing (re-topping) derelict roads. 

 The City of Barrie, like most municipalities faces significant challenges when making decisions regarding the allocation of limited capital funds.  Notwithstanding the number or magnitude of these challenges, the corporation must ensure all critical needs are addressed in the most appropriate manner both city wide and at a local neighbourhood level. 

 To complement the recently re-designed capital planning process, staff will be bringing forward the concept of a Neighbourhood Renewal Program for Councilís consideration in 2012.

 The premise of this initiative is, selected neighbourhoods (in turn) will be recipients of a well orchestrated infrastructure overhaul.  This will include (but not be limited to) parks, roadways, street lighting upgrades, sidewalk infilling, repair and replacement as well as curb and gutter reconstruction.  Good news for residents of the older parts of town.

 I had a Constituent contact me last week saying how much their family value the efforts the city has been making to build a cultural profile, offer activities and promote talent in our community and hoped I did too.  She went on to say she was aware of my not being a big fan of spending money on such endeavors. 

 Let me be clear I believe public works, core and emergency services must always be first priority.  To the best of my ability I take hard looks at all spending  and sometimes speak out (including on Culture expenditures) but that does not mean I donít believe in a balanced community or think there is no place for the arts or that I am not a patron.

 Council has decided the makeover of Memorial Square will be moving forward.

While I am a supporter of the Roger Brooks Uptown vision and commend the BIA for their enthusiastic partnership proposal, transforming a place I have always loved for its beautiful flower beds and spectacular views into a concrete piazza is still something I struggle with.

  I do, however, like the idea of giving the cenotaph a prominent front and centre spot and trust during the conceptual design, cenotaph protection will be considered and the monument will be treated with appropriate reverence and kept safe from tomfoolery.

 Finally, what a majestic beauty the Allandale Station has turned out to be.  I believe whatever makes its home there should respect the stationís restoration place in time, be self sustaining and contribute to the likes of maintenance and utility bills.  Taxpayers do not need yet another mouth to feed.

Whatever happens in its buildings, the Allandale Train Station has been given new life and will remain an heirloom for future generations.

Best regards

Bonnie Ainsworth

Councillor Ward 1