Town of Innisfil requesting an MZO to jumpstart massive development

0
872
innisfil orbit 1

First phase of the Orbit could add 7,000 housing units and 20,000 people to Barrie’s southern neighbour

With pressure from a developer hoping to build high-density housing in the south part of Innisfil, the town has requested a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) to speed up the planning process.

If approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the MZO would fast-track the Orbit, a plan to build around a new GO Station. It would include 200 housing units per hectare close a new GO Transit station – densities common now in cities like Mississauga.

If the request is rejected by the province, developers would have to request an Official Plan amendment and zoning-bylaw changes.

innisfil orbi5 5

Council says the MZO is needed to give the developer, Cortel Group, assurances that higher densities will be allowed. Cortel Group has agreed to upfront the cost of a proposed GO train station that will be built at the centre of the Orbit development.

Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin says without an MZO, an OP amendment that would “always” be appealed … possibly more than once.

innisfil orbit 4

“It ends up with cases and settlements. The people who appeal it are not, for the most part, residents. It is developers who want their land to be the most valuable.

The result? According to the mayor, it would mean a lengthy process, compromises and “patchy” development, Dollin said.

Mayor Lynn Dollin says without an MZO, an OP amendment that would “always” be appealed … more than once.

“It ends up with cases and settlements. The people who appeal it are not, for the most part, residents. It is developers who want their land to be the most valuable.

The result? A lengthy process, compromises and “patchy” development, Dollin said.

Councillor Alex Waters says the massive Orbit development “is the way of development for the future. “We are light years ahead of what Bradford is doing and what Barrie is doing.

“They may not see this as necessary in Innisfil, but I think it sets a trend for other municipalities to show that we are thinking light years ahead in terms of the importance of sustainability, the importance of climate change because this de elopement addresses all those.

With reports suggesting the town will double its population over the next two decades, The Orbit will be built with an additional 30,000 people in mind, with the potential for five-times that amount.

The proposed development was designed by the Cortel Group with the notion of futuristic meets Rural Ontario and officials say it provides the best of both worlds.

“Primarily it’s designed to save the agricultural lands, and the green space so that we don’t keep just building subdivision after subdivision,” explains Innisfil CAO Jason Reynar.

innisfil orbit 2

The town’s first priority is building the new $20 million GO Station.

Officials say the final design for the train station should be ready next year, with shovels in the ground by 2021. They hope to have it fully operational by 2022.

The Orbit will include various retailers, pop-up shops, and more. The town is hoping for input from the public as to what services would be best suited for the community hub.