Wasaga Beach has been designated a Bronze WALK Friendly Community for beginning to implement a comprehensive wayfinding system, plans to pedestrianize the historic centre of the Town, as well as the adoption and implementation of an Active Transportation Plan.
Some highlights from Wasaga Beach’s application include:
- Wasaga Beach is commended for being the first municipality in Simcoe County — and one of the first communities of its size in Canada — to create an Active Transportation Plan. Some of the elements outlined in the plan are: expand the Town’s existing pedestrian and cycling system by using off-road trails, on-road bike lanes, signed bike routes and sidewalks; constructing high-quality pedestrian infrastructure and signage; and improving pedestrian safety by installing or upgrading pedestrian crossings on certain identified streets.
- To best accommodate active transportation, the Town conducts Environmental Assessments, uses a Complete Streets approach when it comes to road re-surfacing and new projects, and includes walking and cycling as major considerations in all ten-year road forecasts.
- The Healthy Communities Network has been formally established as an advisory committee to council and is directly related to the Development Committee, bringing a health lens to land use planning.
- The Town of Wasaga Beach is making it easier for residents and tourists to walk with the implementation of a comprehensive Wayfinding Master Plan. The Town’s wayfinding system will provide orientation and information to visitors and residents, and will identify all of the Town’s main destinations, recreational trails, major parks, as well as bicycle and pedestrian routes.
- “Operation Wasaga” is a bold plan to revitalize the historic centre of Wasaga Beach into an urban mixed-use pedestrian village, complete with human-scaled development and a pedestrianized main square. In addition, the vision for Beach Areas 1 & 2 include more controlled crossings in pedestrianized areas.
- A strength of this Municipality is its ability to link trails to other pedestrian infrastructure. The Town is including sidewalk construction with all road resurfacing in the older parts of Town, and wider sidewalks have been incorporated into several capital projects. All new subdivisions require sidewalks, and paved shoulders have been created on several existing roads to accommodate active transportation.
- Wasaga Beach also has a public transit system – a rare thing for a community of its size. Most transit trips begin and end with a walk, so it’s important to pay attention to end of trip facilities. In Wasaga Beach all of the bus stops in the network have a shelter and bench to accommodate people waiting for the bus.
- The Police and Town have a good working relationship. Police are required to do foot patrol each shift, when weather and calls for service permit. “Operation Freeze” is a creative strategy employed by Patrol Officers to encourage good behaviour – the officers give out “Operation Freeze” coupons which entitle the receiver to a free Freezie at any Mac’s Milk store. The coupons are generally given to youth as a reward for safe walking and biking practices.