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Neglect sparks formation of town citizens’ group

In Innisfil
Sep 9th, 2010

By Chris Simon Innisfil Scope September 9 2010
A group of concerned citizens will be banding together for the betterment of Innisfil.
The Innisfil Civic League was established about month ago, in an attempt to keep residents informed about local community and government issues. It currently consists of 16 local business owners, who represent a combined 350 employees.
“It’s going to be promoted to anyone who has an interest in Innisfil, whether they work, live or own property here,” said league representative and Fork and Plate owner Deb Burton. “It’s to help initiate some transparency and information flow. We’re looking for a government that is a little bit more inclusive of their population. Our hopes are to have a long lasting group that can help with just about anything in bringing issues forward. There’s a number of civic leagues across the country, and they are very good at what they do.”
Business owners first discussed the formation of the league following issues with the Innisfil Beach Road reconstruction project. Basically, those owners were upset over the town’s handling of the nearly $30 million project, claiming a lack of communication, longer than expected construction period, and an unwillingness to compromise have all negatively affected their businesses.
Many of the owners helped collect 1,000 signatures for a petition that was presented to council recently, specifically calling for the removal of a centre median near the IBR and 25th Sideroad intersection. However, that request has been ignored so far, said Burton.
“It’s made up predominately of local business people right now, who are directly affected by construction,” she said. “To get the support, it’s been very difficult. All these things should be transparent. There’s all kinds of things going on in town, and some of them are great. But some may not have necessarily been planned for the best of everyone involved.”
However, the league is dedicated to lobbying on other issues, like increasing voter turnout during elections, improving government accountability, beautifying the community, starting a transportation system, and protecting heritage and the environment.
League members also want to focus on economic development and job creation in the town, said Burton.
“We’re hoping that by forming an allegiance, we’re able to get our voices heard a little better than by doing it independently,” she said. “There’s no power as an individual, but there certainly is as a group. We can make it a little easier for people to see what’s going on, without it being cloaked in secrecy.”
The league will attempt to gain non-profit status, and eventually develop a website.
Members meet weekly, and participants are welcome to attend. Admission is free, but a donation is requested. For more information, call Burton or Shannon Copeland at 431-0442 or 436-7272, respectively

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