Province plans to expand Innisfil Heights Strategic Settlement Area

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By Robin MacLennan

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The province is considering a plan to expand the Innisfil Heights Strategic Settlement Employment Area – a large employment area along Highway 400 in the Town of Innisfil.

The proposal has been placed on the Environmental Registry of Ontario for consideration.

On. Nov. 13 the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing posted proposed modifications to the Innisfil Heights strategic settlement employment area to the Environmental Registry of Ontario.

The Environmental Registry of Ontario is where the public can comment on provincial decisions that affect the environment. Innisfil’s plan is open to review until Dec. 13.

The area has been subject to numerous debates at council, but none of the plans so far has resulted in bringing servicing to the area. Without servicing, there is no potential to develop the employment lands.

Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin says she is encouraged by the ministry’s move.

The provincial A Place to Grow Act of 2015 identified four employment areas in Ontario – one of which is the Innisfil Heights strategic settlement employment area.

It identifies four specific employment areas in Simcoe County:

  • Innisfil Heights Strategic Settlement Employment Area
  • Bradford West Gwillimbury Strategic Settlement Employment Area
  • Lake Simcoe Regional Airport Economic Employment District
  • Rama Road Economic Employment District

Economic employment districts are to be planned and protected for locally significant uses. Strategic settlement employment areas are to be planned and protected for employment uses that require large lots of land and depend upon efficient movement of goods and access to Highway 400.

The Minister has established boundaries and permitted uses within the strategic settlement employment areas and the economic employment districts. A Place to Grow provides that the Minister may review and amend the planning details for these areas and that a municipality may request the Minister to consider a review.

The Innisfil Heights Strategic Settlement Employment Area is identified by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to create high quality jobs in the manufacturing and industrial sectors. According to the province, strategic settlement employment areas are to be planned and protected for employment uses that require large lots of land and depend upon efficient movement of goods and access to Highway 400. Lands are designated to support the creation of high-quality manufacturing and industrial sector jobs.

The province is now considering a request from Innisfil and the County of Simcoe to expand the existing employment area to the northeast and northwest from the 9th Line of Innisfil to the boundary of the City of Barrie and south to the 6th Line.

Mayor Dollin says road blocks have delayed the vision for the Innisfil Employment area in the past. One issue is the servicing of the lands. Also, the province appealed the town of Innisfil’s Official Plan Amendment 1, which outlines plans for the area, to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

To view the proposed changes or to comment, visit https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-0720.

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