A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[URBAN NOTE] “Can Wasaga Beach find its way out of the shade?”

The Toronto Star‘s Betsy Powell describes the many problems faced by Wasaga Beach, a resort community on Georgian Bay popular with Toronto vacationers that has been faced with falling tourist numbers in recent years. (I should mention, for the record, that I have never been here. Should I?)

A bundled-up couple walking a dog and a lone snowmobiler had the world’s longest freshwater beach to themselves on a recent morning as a frigid wind swept across Georgian Bay.

“Nothing down here will open. Who’s going to come and park here when it’s cold?” Deputy Mayor Nina Bifolchi says, driving past a stretch of closed-for-three-seasons fast-food eateries and bars facing the beach.

She was on the losing side when council voted to buy the properties for $13.8 million in 2015, using money borrowed from a bank and the province.

That’s no small sum for the town of 18,000 that will collect $20.3 million in property taxes this year and spend $48 million in operating and capital costs.

But waterfront purchase proponents, led by Mayor Brian Smith, argue Wasaga Beach needed a “bold” step after a steady decline in tourists — the town’s economic lifeblood — of roughly 100,000 a year between 2002 and 2012, compounded by a massive fire in 2007 that destroyed a bustling street mall in the beach’s east end. The mall was never rebuilt and has since been replaced by a beer garden and kiosks.

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Written by Randy McDonald

January 22, 2017 at 8:15 pm

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