Barrie’s new Official Plan expected to get approval this fall

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Barrie council is expected to approve the city’s new Official Plan this fall.

‘One City, One Vision, One Plan’ establishes the structure to manage how and where Barrie will grow until the year 2051.

“It’s a road map to our future. The plan provides the direction for Barrie’s growth for the next 20-plus years. The plan responds to our community’s land use, development and conservation goals,” said Michelle Banfield, the city’s director of development services and chief architect of the new OP. “We want to plan for responsible growth, with community input.”

Al McNair, an east-end Barrie resident and planner, attended the public meeting to remind councillors of the broad scope a new OP will have.

“I think we need to remember that we’re planning for a city that works for people and their neighbourhoods, at a human scale and that includes natural heritage areas, not just the roads,” he said.

The new OP will also assess land needs for people and job growth.

This year Barrie’s population is 155,636 people and there are 83,400 jobs. By 2051, the OP is planning for a population that will have reached 298,000 people, and 150,000 jobs.

Half of Barrie’s future growth is to take place within the current built-up area, the other half in the former Innisfil land, the Salem and Hewitt’s second plan areas.

The process of drafting a new OP has also included extensive public discussion. Commenters want the plan to protect and enhance the waterfront and create more green spaces, more transportation options, more housing options, new developments and tall buildings in the right areas – that also look good.

“Nothing in this Official Plan is intended to impact any existing approvals or projects that are going through the approvals process,” Banfield said. “Certainly, shovels in the ground are not going to be impacted by the new Official Plan.”

City staff will return to council in the fall of 2021 to seek approval and adoption of the new OP.

Key Themes of Barrie’s New Official Plan

  • Urban & Complete City: Enhancing Barrie’s urban structure with the development of mixed-use buildings and providing more affordable housing options.
  • Attractive City: Striving for design excellence in the built form and public realm to create an attractive community.
  • Connected & Mobile City: Making active transportation a priority to move people throughout Barrie.
  • Waterfront & Green City: Continuing to recognize the Waterfront as the focal point of the City and explore ways to interconnect Downtown Barrie to the Waterfront.
  • Resilient City: Making Barrie resilient to the effects of climate change by working with other agencies to understand and respond to future environmental trends.
  • Prosperous City: Barrie will be a premiere destination for business investment and will support a broad range of diverse careers.
  • Cultural City: Enhancing civic pride through public art, preservation of historic buildings, and programming public spaces.