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Councillor urges residents to have their say on Heritage Park plan

Coun. Keenan Aylwin has concerns about the proposed location for the 'Heart Barrie' sign in 'one of Barrie’s most prominent parks'

Have a look Thursday at the final concept for Heritage Park’s master plan.

Virtual public information meetings will be held 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. on Nov. 25 by Zoom for the Barrie waterfront park’s proposed level of rehabilitation and new amenities.

The public is invited to ask questions and comment on the concept master plan for Heritage Park, which covers 7.3 acres and is located at 5 Simcoe St., on Barrie’s north shore.

Coun. Keenan Aylwin, who represents this part of Barrie, says he hopes residents will participate in this master plan process.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to refresh and re-imagine Heritage Park,” he said. “I hope that residents will take the opportunity to have their say on the proposed vision for one of Barrie’s most prominent parks.

“One concern that still lingers for me and that I've heard from the public is the proposed location for the ‘Heart Barrie’ sign,” Aylwin added. “We should ensure that it’s strategically placed to ensure that public spaces remain accessible and that the flow of pedestrian traffic from Meridian Place to the waterfront is not impeded.”

The sign location is shown on the concept master plan map to be directly on the entry axis to Heritage Park, as people come across Simcoe Street from Meridian Place. But the same map also shows an alternative location for the sign, west of the path entering Heritage Park, in a grassy area.

At last month’s city building committee meeting, Michael Barker of SHIFT Landscape Architecture of Guelph, involved in this new master plan process, expressed concerns the first sign location could block views of Kempenfelt Bay, sail boats and other activity on the water  and that the alternative site should continue to be considered.

But Coun. Mike McCann, who has championed the ‘Heart Barrie’ sign, has noted its alternate location could interfere with some of the summer festivals at Heritage Park, and the map does label the greenspace on which the alternative location sits as an "event and gathering lawn."

The ‘Heart Barrie’ landmark sign is to be no more than eight feet tall, illuminated with LED lights and go in Heritage Park by July 1 next summer.

Heritage Park is a Barrie waterfront destination, hosts many events and features horticultural displays, water fountains for children, a natural pond and the Sea Serpent sculpture.

What’s being proposed in the concept master plan is a Heritage Park for all seasons, and all ages. There are to be connections to water, natural heritage systems and active transportation, such as walking and cycling. There will be passive and events programming, environmental interpretation and education. It’s also to comply with the Ontarians With Disabilities Act.

The city’s new concept master plan for Heritage Park is scheduled to be reviewed by city council in January or February.

To view Thursday’s concept master plan presentation and other related information, visit

Bob Bruton

About the Author: Bob Bruton

Bob Bruton is a full-time BarrieToday reporter who covers politics and city hall.
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