A downtown core is what defines a town. Often it is the area visitors, and even residents, use to describe a town. Downtowns are the hub of town events, community gatherings, economic development and so much more. It’s for those reasons, and many more, that the Town of Wasaga Beach is developing the Downtown.
Over the past two years, the Town of Wasaga Beach has been developing a master plan for downtown development. From development of a downtown core being established as a Council priority, to requests for proposals, to public means and more, the Downtown Development Master Plan has been put into action.
At the end of March Wasaga Beach town council voted on a plan that outlined what development will look like. “One of the key elements is a roundabout on Main Street. The plan also outlines the town’s intentions to build an arena or library, as well as a public square” (CTV News Barrie)
Download the Wasaga Beach Downtown Development Master Plan
Approval of the Master plans means that development now shifts to the implementation phase which will take place over the next few years.
The goal of this plan is “to promote the evolution of a livable, compact, accessible, sustainable downtown for the entire community. This will enhance the economic competitiveness of Wasaga Beach to not only improve the Town’s tourism economy (currently the only industry) but will also plant the seeds for economic diversification.” (Downtown Development Master Plan, page 34).
This development intends to shift the party-town label often associated with Wasaga Beach and rebrand the town with “a more sophisticated, diversified and inclusive approach” (Downtown Development Master Plan).
Key elements of the plan include:
- Streetscape Improvements – Providing guidelines and suggestion for building development (general dimensions) as well as building use; focus on making Main Street pedestrian-friendly; parking; aesthetics
- Town Square – Create a main social gathering space for community events, including markets and festivals
- Anchor Developments – A mixed-use space that benefits the community. It may include uses for: government, library, cultural programs, support services, etc.
- Community Hub – A community hub offers space for activities, sports, events and more. “Located directly on the corner of Main Street and Beck Street, the community hub is a prominent building in the streetscape with the potential to attract visitors and pedestrian traffic year round to benefit the adjacent businesses (Downtown Development Master Plan, page 94).
With all this talk about downtown development, we can’t forget about the Beach (it’s in the town’s name after all).
Vision for the Beach:
“Envisioned to bring back the “Fun” to Wasaga Beach, the Beach District will be the entertainment activity centre of Wasaga Beach. Taking a cue from its’ cultural heritage, the Beach District will bring back family and indoor entertainment to diversify the activities offered ensuring that the beach is a dependable destination through bad weather and through the off season. By strengthening the beach as a destination, the town reinforces the synergy held between the beach and town to create a sustainable entity.” (Downtown Development Master Plan, page 96)
Beach development will focus on the Beach Boardwalk, Festival Square and Retail/ Restaurants/ Entertainment/ Boutique Hotel.
Learn more about the Downtown Development Master Plan including:
- Understanding The Downtown
- Market-Based Strategy
- Best Practice and Design
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