Aug 15, 2017

Mayor Margaret QuirkTownship of Georgina Mayor Margaret Quirk and Andy Adams discuss the Jackson's Point Harbour redevelopment plan.

Bonnie Boats

The Bonnie Boats building, docks and many small but protected slips were sold with York Region Police buying a large part for the Marine Unit.

Bonnie ParkBonnie Park is not large but there is a nice little beach for children and parkland with good washrooms and ample parking for the public to access Lake Simcoe.

Malone Wharf is a popular spot for fishing and could be important in the redevelopment but it’s very close to homes and cottages. This is the view of the docks with approximately 55 slips. Malone 400

Boating Industry Canada’s Andy Adams had the pleasure of meeting with Margaret Quirk, Mayor of Georgina, Ontario and her staff to learn more about the Jackson's Point Harbourredevelopment that is in the planning stages now.

As the mayor explained, Georgina includes 52 km of shoreline from Cook's Bay in the South to Port Bolster in the North up the East side of Lake Simcoe. It’s a big lake and home to a huge number of boats at cottages and in marinas.

Lake Simcoe also gets substantial trailer boat use for families and fishermen. The enormous population of the GTA is an easy drive away. Lake Simcoe is also an important part of the Trent Severn Canal system.

There is also a rapidly growing local population of residents who naturally, expect to enjoy recreational activities on the lake.

But, Jackson's Point Harbour is the only municipal harbor on the East side of Lake Simcoe and redevelopment will change access – one way or another.

Jackson's Point Harbour is located on the south shores of Lake Simcoe, west of Georgina Island at Bonnie Blvd in Jackson’s Point. Recently, the owners of Bonnie Boats offered their business and property for sale.

For our industry, the sad reality is that the marina property is worth far more when it is put to other uses. Waterfront homes, hotels and other businesses will be more profitable than operating as a marina.

It’s active in the winter as well, as an ice fishing centre and with the closing and sale of Bonnie Boats, at too is in question.

Jackson’s Point is not only known for its beauty, but also its rich history. Here is a video that captures the vitality of this unique area inviting the public to explore what potential opportunities could lie ahead.

There are many possibilities, but interested parties need to learn more about what redevelopment options are now on the table.

A developer bought the property that was Bonnie Boats and in short order, after receiving approval from York Region Council, the York Regional Police Services Board announced that the YRP Marine Unit will be moving to a portion of the former Bonnie Boats Marina within Jackson’s Point.

For boaters, this is an excellent and logical location for the Marine Unit that has been located much further south in Keswick.

With the closing of Bonnie Boats, the fuel docks and pumpout there, are not currently available and this might have a significant negative impact on boaters. The Jackson's Point Harbour previously had approximately 55 slips, some for transient boaters, some for summer mooring by residents and more than half being occupied by the Sail Georgina group.

The Jackson's Point Harbour has the depth to accommodate a medium sized keel boat and that is not the case with many other parts of the lake where water depth is insufficient near the shore. Lake Simcoe is a great lake to sail as well, so the loss of Jackson's Point Harbour may be a blow to the sailing community.

The redevelopment process will be tricky. There are very valuable residential and seasonal properties there. Jackson's Point is an historic area that was regarded as Ontario’s first cottage country and it was also home to the former Grew Boat company and the Gidley Boat company.

At present, there is a Ramada Hotel that has just undergone a major renovation and the Marine Unit relocation is going ahead.

Complicating things is that both Bonnie Boats and the Hotel owned water lots that extend well out into the lake.

The Town of Georgina has initiated a study that will prepare the Jackson’s Point Harbourfront Redevelopment Plan for the lands in the Jackson’s Point Harbour Area.

The Redevelopment Plan has now gone through public consultation and a broad based engagement with the residential and business community, landowners, technical agencies, Town staff and Council. The Redevelopment Plan will set a vision for Jackson’s Point Harbourfront based on the guiding principles for development as outlined in the Sutton/Jackson’s Point Secondary Plan.

The Town of Georgina has retained a consulting firm “The Planning Partnership” who has gathered input from the public and with a team comprised of Town staff, technical experts and agencies will prepare a Redevelopment Plan for the Jackson’s Point Harbourfront. Three options were presented in a public meeting on August 10th in Jackson's Point at the Ramada hotel.

But the process continues and our readers can follow this online and can even contribute to the dialogue. While things are well along, it’s far from over and we think both boaters and the boating industry should take a strong interest in this.

The process and dynamics determining the future of the Jackson's Point Harbour redevelopment will likely be played out again and again on other lakes and in other areas as the value of the real estate makes it difficult to justify owning and operating a marina.

The problem is, what value in tourism and local business might be lost if a marina with slips fuel and pumpout closes?

And, what will the environmental impact be?

Follow the Jackson's Point Harbour redevelopment process at

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