Local Support for Sauble Town Square

Post date: Feb 16, 2016 8:02:14 PM

By Nelson Phillips, Wiarton Echo

Thursday, January 28, 2016 4:36:48 EST PM

The preliminary layout drawings for the possible location of a Town Square style centre in Sauble Beach. Photo courtesy of the Town of South Bruce Peninsula.

The Friends of Sauble (FOS) have issued a public challenge to other local organizations after donating a clean $1,000 towards the proposed Sauble Town Square project. The volunteer group wants to contribute to the lofty Sauble centre idea, and want other groups to shell out as well.

“The Beach is just crying for something like this,” says John Strachan, Director of Dunes Management for the FOS. “It’ll bring us into the 21st century.”

In a press release, the FOS say they made the donation to kick start the project proposal, “so the Mayor’s vision to have work completed this summer becomes a reality.”

Strachan also says this is a perfect opportunity for the FOS and the council of South Bruce Peninsula to rekindle a positive relationship.

South Bruce Peninsula mayor, Janice Jackson, plainly stated via email that the donations would be accepted.

“We have received word that other community groups are rallying to make donations. We will invite them all to take part in unveiling the Sauble Town Square.”

The two groups met each other with considerable force last summer, when Sauble Beach’s Blue Flag designation was removed by the Blue Flag organization, after a heated public spat involving the Town, the FOS, Environmental Defense, and the Ministry of Natural Resources over the removal of native plant species from the Sauble welcome sign planters, and beach-raking close to the dunes.

Sauble Beach was awarded the second Blue Flag designation in North America in 2005.

The FOS called the move a “slap in the face,” at the time – but Strachan says the FOS isn’t interested in having the Blue Flag return to Sauble anytime soon.

In hindsight, Strachan called the Blue Flag program “too restrictive,” and says the FOS is eager to “re-establish a bond with the Town.”

“We took the high road and stayed away,” said Strachan. We’ve always supported the mayor, just not on that topic. And council has been doing a great job getting things done.”

Jackson responded via email and said “it would be great if other community groups contributed to the Sauble Square.”

Jackson said the new square will benefit SBP residents as much as it will appeal to seasonal visitors.

Strachan says the Town Square project should be at the forefront of community life in Sauble, and ideally would take shape as an amphitheatre to showcase art, music and culture.

The project suits the FOS’s mantra to “preserve and conserve” as well, says Strachan. It would drive crowds towards the Town Square, rather than closer to the dunes after car shows and festivals, leaving the finite beach features alone.

“It just feels good thinking about it,” says Strachan.