‘We want them to build a neighbourhood’: Wasaga takes final steps to put beachfront on market

Wasaga Beach Mayor Nina Bifolchi is hopeful that the six companies vying to redevelop the main beachfront commercial area come back with proposals in line with the community’s vision for the district.
The area of the main beachfront commercial area under consideration in a request for proposals to be issued in October. The areas in purple are owned by the municipality; areas in yellow are privately held.
The different planning districts that form the official plan policies for Wasaga Beach’s downtown area. A municipal owned property in the beach area is being considered for development. 

They won’t be coming down tomorrow, or in a week or a month.

But the days may be numbered for the buildings in the municipally owned commercial area fronting Beach Area 1, as the Town of Wasaga Beach prepares to take the final steps to take the properties to the marketplace — and what could be a dramatic transformation of a summer fun zone into a 12-month place for people to live, work and play.

“We’re confident we will see something beneficial come through this process,” said Mayor Nina Bifolchi.

Over the course of two meetings on Sept. 15 and 17, councillors confirmed the official plan and zoning parameters for the area, as well as a scoring matrix for how submissions from the companies shortlisted to pitch their redevelopment plans will be judged.

At its September meeting, council is expected to approve the request-for-proposal (RFP) documents that will be sent out in October to six companies that have been pre-qualified to submit a bid: Slate Management, Fram Building Group, Connox, Seventy Five Years Inc., Pozeg Construction and Baycliffe Communities.

The successful company, or companies, will be rated on financial stability, technical understanding of the project, vision for the beachfront and the team they’ve put together.

Deloitte’s Shawn Oakley said municipal officials shouldn’t just go for the money, but rather make a choice based on how the submissions align with the town’s vision for the beachfront.

“From your viewpoint, it’s probably more about city design than it is about the money,” said Oakley, whose company is assisting in the development of the RFP. “If someone said a developer is willing to offer a couple of million dollars more, but they’re not going to get you what your vision is, then it’s about value for money, it’s about getting the right design (and) making sure the financial proposal is fair. And there will be an opportunity to negotiate that if we like the vision of somebody.

“We want them to build a neighbourhood.… It’s about the integration of live, work and play. It’s about how they’re going to make this a 12-month destination.”

The town is also including the road allowances for 1st and 3rd streets, and a portion of 2nd Street north of the LCBO, in the lands available for development, along with the commercial property purchased by the town in 2015 for $13.6 million.

The official plan policies for the beachfront could see buildings of four and six storeys along the beachfront, with a mix of commercial space on the ground floor and residential units above — including units that could be made available for short-term accommodations, similar to the Village at Blue Mountain.

The process doesn’t necessarily commit the town to selecting one, all or any of the preferred developers, Bifolchi told council’s Sept. 10 co-ordinated committee meeting.

“If we get six lousy submissions, we’re not going to sell the town out,” she said. “If we feel that none of them are sufficient, we have the right … to have another RFP. We aren’t bound by anything that comes forward.”

Source: https://www.toronto.com/news-story/10202849–we-want-them-to-build-a-neighbourhood-wasaga-takes-final-steps-to-put-beachfront-on-market/