Revitalising Barrie’s Waterfront: A Vision for the Future

Planning for the Future: Barrie’s Waterfront Strategic Plan

The City of Barrie has taken a significant step in shaping the future of its beloved waterfront. On October 4, 2023, the City Council officially approved the Waterfront Strategic Plan through motion 23-G-152. This comprehensive plan outlines the phased planning and implementation of future waterfront park revitalisation projects, which will be considered within the annual business plan process.

A Vision for Barrie’s Waterfront

Barrie’s waterfront, a picturesque stretch spanning approximately 10 kilometres along Kempenfelt Bay on Lake Simcoe, connects diverse parkland spaces to equally diverse neighbourhoods. The newly adopted Waterfront Strategic Plan covers the entire length of this scenic shoreline, starting from Johnson’s Beach and the eastern limits of the North Shore Trail at Penetanguishene Road, encompassing the westerly, southerly, and easterly surroundings of Kempenfelt Bay and the City of Barrie marina, extending all the way to Wilkins Park near the city’s boundary with the Town of Innisfil.

Managing Growth and Preserving Quality

With the demand for waterfront usage expected to surge over the next 10 to 20 years, careful management is crucial. The Waterfront Strategic Plan aims to ensure that the existing high-quality experience is maintained while protecting the natural functions of the area. This plan considers the waterfront’s multifaceted role as a recreational resource, an economic development opportunity, a tourist attraction, and a cultural hub hosting numerous events and festivals.

A Balanced Approach

The 2023 Waterfront Strategic Plan introduces a new framework to guide the future planning and development of Barrie’s waterfront. This framework seeks to balance community, economy, and environment, recognising the waterfront’s significant impact on park and open space experiences. The plan anticipates a domino effect, enhancing the experiences of new residents and visitors to the downtown area by providing a beautiful oasis in the intensification areas of Barrie. Building on the increased use of waterfront spaces during the global COVID-19 pandemic, the plan aims to elevate Barrie’s waterfront to its full potential, making it the heart and source of vitality for the city.

Moving Forward

This new plan replaces the former 2015 Waterfront and Marina Strategic Plan, notably excluding an update to the Marina Strategic Plan. The Marina Strategic Plan, which was previously an appendix to the 2015 document, is now a stand-alone document.

Barrie’s Waterfront Strategic Plan is a forward-thinking blueprint designed to safeguard and enhance one of the city’s most cherished assets. As Barrie grows and evolves, this plan ensures that the waterfront remains a vibrant, sustainable, and accessible destination for all.

For more detailed information, you can refer to the City of Barrie’s official Waterfront Strategic Plan.


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