Bar­rie con­sid­ers neigh­bourly pacts

The Barrie Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - BOB BRUTON BAR­RIE EX­AM­INER

Can’t say Bar­rie isn’t a good neigh­bour.

City coun­cil­lors will con­sider part­ner­ships Mon­day with Essa Town­ship, Oril­lia and Sim­coe County Mu­seum on pub­lic tran­sit, next year’s On­tario Win­ter Games and Al­lan­dale’s His­toric Train En­gine 1531 re­spec­tively.

“Our res­i­dents and busi­nesses don’t care about mu­nic­i­pal bound­aries – they want to see their com­mu­ni­ties work to­gether to save money and pro­vide more ser­vices,” Bar­rie Mayor Jeff Lehman said. “That should al­ways be the goal.

“Wher­ever a part­ner­ship can save our res­i­dents money and/or pro­vide new or ex­panded ser­vices, we should look at them.”

The Essa tran­sit ser­vice has been in place since May 2013, run­ning two buses from Al­lan­dale Water­front GO Sta­tion along County Road 90 into An­gus, then Cana­dian Forces Base Bor­den.

“We are able to pro­vide ser­vice to the more than 1,000 Bar­rie res­i­dents who work at Base Bor­den, as well as bring res­i­dents of An­gus into Bar­rie,” Lehman said. “This has so­cial and eco­nomic ben­e­fits.

“For Essa res­i­dents, tran­sit con­nec­tions to Bar­rie al­low those who can’t drive or choose tran­sit as a way to get to ev­ery­thing from med­i­cal ap­point­ments to shop­ping to events in the city. Since it started, the Essa tran­sit part­ner­ship has seen rid­er­ship that is higher than fore­cast.”

Rid­er­ship is pro­jected at 19,000 this year. The ser­vice car­ries an an­nual cost of $175,000, which is paid in full by Essa, but the deal is set to ex­pire at the end of this year. Coun­cil­lors will con­sider re­new­ing it Mon­day

Oril­lia is host­ing the 2018 On­tario Win­ter Games March 1-4 for 3,000 ath­letes, coaches and of­fi­cials com­pet­ing in 25 sports, and es­ti­mated to draw 5,000 spec­ta­tors to the re­gion.

Oril­lia has reached out to Bar­rie to be­come a host part­ner, and it’s a nat­u­ral fit – since this city is al­ready plan­ning for 260 ath­letes com­pet­ing in bad­minton, squash and wheel­chair bas­ket­ball.

Part­ner­ing with Oril­lia would carry a $10,000 com­mit­ment for Bar­rie, in­clud­ing $1,850 of in-kind fa­cil­ity rental space.

In re­turn Bar­rie could re­ceive nam­ing rights, ad­ver­tis­ing, mar­ket­ing and other pro­mo­tions.

City coun­cil­lors will also look at the po­ten­tial do­na­tion of En­gine 1531 to Sim­coe County Mu­seum, where it’s been since 2008, to con­tinue the em­pha­sis on rail­way her­itage and its role in de­vel­op­ing Sim­coe County.

En­gine 1531 is in poor con­di­tion, re­quir­ing more than $315,000 in up­grades – which the city would con­trib­ute to if the do­na­tion is ap­proved.

The en­gine can­not be re­turned to the Al­lan­dale Sta­tion land, which is the sub­ject of a Stage 4 ar­chae­o­log­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Lehman said these part­ner­ships are im­por­tant on a num­ber of lev­els.

“As the ma­jor ur­ban cen­tre in Cen­tral On­tario, it’s my view that Bar­rie can help oth­ers by pro­vid­ing some re­gional ser­vices - our fire ser­vice dis­patches for about 20 dif­fer­ent mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, for ex­am­ple, and we have a strong part­ner­ship with the County of Sim­coe across many dif­fer­ent is­sues, such as af­ford­able hous­ing,” he said. “We also fre­quently host re­gional events such as the Cen­tral On­tario Cli­mate Change con­fer­ence, and the Sim­coe County Truck Rodeo – that’s us be­ing hosts for pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment and train­ing.”

Part­ner­ing on the First Re­spon­ders Cam­pus with the County of Sim­coe, both Bar­rie and county res­i­dents could save mil­lions of dol­lars, Lehman said.

Fu­ture part­ner­ships are also be­ing worked on – with the county and pos­si­bly Spring­wa­ter Town­ship’s tran­sit plans, with In­n­is­fil re­gard­ing ser­vic­ing some bound­ary land along Big Bay Point Road.

“We’ve also been talk­ing with Base Bor­den about some po­ten­tial part­ner­ships, build­ing on the strong re­la­tion­ship we’ve de­vel­oped over the last few years,” Lehman said. “Tran­sit and fire train­ing are two part­ner­ships with Bor­den that have been in place his­tor­i­cally, with mu­tual ben­e­fit.”

And the rea­sons don’t change. “There are two re­ally good rea­sons for neigh­bours to part­ner. One is to save tax­pay­ers money,” Lehman said. “Two is to be able to do things we can’t do to­day, that pro­vide ser­vice to res­i­dents. bbru­ton@post­media.com

MARK WANZEL/PHOTO

Al­lan­dale His­toric Train En­gine 1531 has been at Sim­coe County Mu­seum since 2008, and is a good fit with the mu­seum's theme of Bar­rie and Sim­coe County in the early 20th cen­tury.

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