A large section of the world’s longest freshwater beach remains in limbo as Wasaga Beach councillors try once again to encourage developers to help create a vision for its future.

At a Coordinated Committee meeting on Thursday, councillors gave initial approval to move forward with a request for expression of interest (RFEOI) for the purchase and development of beach area one lands.

“Following the request for expression of interest we will short list our developers and invite a number to formally submit to the request for proposal,” said Mayor Nina Bifolchi.

A report from the town’s Chief Administrative Officer recommends that an evaluation team consisting of four senior municipal staff and the Mayor be established to review the submissions and make recommendation to council on the short list.

FRAM Building Group was originally chosen to develop the land by the town’s previous council, but the new council decided to allow the Letter of Intent to lapse at the end of December.

That decision was made following community feedback during the municipal election. Residents expressed concerns over condos, the mandatory requirement that the new arena and library be located in the downtown, and the prescriptive language in the Official Plan.

FRAM announced earlier this year that it would not be part of the multi-million-dollar redevelopment project in the downtown.

“We need a refreshed beachfront, we need new development taking into account we will need some residential to make it viable for the developer, but we also need to have some commercial and tourism activities,” said Bifolchi.

In addition to creating a shortlist of preferred developers, the RFEOI process would also inform council on the depth of market interest and the approach in creating the request for proposal (RFP) document.

Built into the process would be a step where successful proponents would meet with the town and share their ideas on the best way to develop the beachfront area and provide ideas for the RFP.

“The goal of these steps is to attract qualified developer/builders to work with the town in the redevelopment and revitalization of the lands at Beach Area 1,” stated CAO George Vadeboncoeur in the report.

According to the report, the RFEOI will be issued on June 28 and will be presented to council for consideration at the end of August.

Council will have to ratify the decision at its next meeting on June 25.

- With files from CTV Barrie's Rob Cooper