About 40 years ago, I remember my Uncle saying to me that Meaford was a town on the cusp of major development. I’ve heard the same thing ever since yet it has never materialized despite best efforts over the years.
In the passing decades, there was the development of the Meaford Golf and Country Club, the nearby Lora Bay development and Raven golf course, the downtown was revitalized, the Opera House refurbished and expanded. There have been groups of economic development volunteers come and go, re-branding exercises and passionate politics. Yet Meaford today largely remains what is was 40 years ago; an older community of people who have retired in from their farms and fledgling businesses that come and go quickly. The industrial base is virtually non existent.
I don’t really know why because it is one heck of a pretty little Town. It surely has one of the nicest trail systems in the area and the best waterfront access of any community in South Georgian Bay. Driving in from the east, you cross a bridge over the Bighead River and view Georgian Bay straight ahead. I think it is a challenging location caught between Blue Mountain and Owen Sound but, it has its own hospital, library and a wide range of services and goods available in the town. I think it simply lacks confidence.
A proposed new development called Meaford Haven is being planned for the west end tucked between Highway 26 on the north and the Meaford Golf and Country Club to the south. It includes plans for up to 400 units of mixed-use housing including bungalows, apartments, condominiums, assisted living/long-term care units and a commercial component including health centre and recreation facilities. (I hope their cheesy website is not any indication of their abilities.)
According to the planning report filed by the developers, Meaford Haven “anticipates a planned community providing a variety of accommodation types, set in an secure and safe integrated gated neighbourhood that includes trails, open space, natural corridors and community facilities.” Hmmm. Did that say gated? (Note to developer: Gates are not a popular notion in these parts.)
Maybe my Uncle will finally be right? Only time will tell.
Update June 15, 2011: Shortly after this post appeared, I got an email from the developer of this project asking for my reasons for calling their website cheesy and asking for input. Which of course I gave. A week later, they sent an email to me detailing the changes they were making and the discussions my comments had provoked within their team. I have to say I’m very impressed and, as I said to them, if they put the same care and attention into their development as they have into following up on my little blog post, then they are sure to do a great job. Kudos to them.