Property originally purchased in 1979 for a future firehall has been donated to Habitat for Humanity Huronia for an affordable and sustainable housing development.
After 40 years, a restriction on the land use has lapsed, on the 4,000 square metre plot of land, fronting the 25th Sideroad near the Sandycove Acres retirement community and Innisfil recently voted to donate the land.
The proposed donation to Habitat for Humanity is for a passive house-certified multi-family residential development, that would increase the amount of affordable housing in Innisfil.
At a recent council meeting, Deputy Mayor Dan Davidson asked if Habitat for Humanity had considered building single-storey residences geared towards persons with disabilities, but the organization is looking at high-density development due to escalating costs, Cikoja replied.
The project would provide 18 to 25 preferably two-storey units, each with at least three bedrooms. While the subject land is currently designated Parks and Open Space in the Official Plan, it is zoned Residential Special Community. An Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Approval are needed, as well as approvals from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority.
Some residents have signed a petition opposing the donation.
Their concerns include increased traffic, loss of green space, impact on wells and property values. Also, residents questioned the potential for increased crime if an affordable housing project is approved for the area of single-family homes.
Habitat’s CEO, says there has been no increase in crime, or reduction in property values resulting from any Habitat builds – and in Barrie, “we’ve begun the gentrification” in at least one area, Cikoja is quoted saying in BarrieToday.
“Having our families in your neighbourhood – you’d never know it,” Cikoja said. “Crime has never been a factor for any Habitat for Humanity build.”
The Passive Home project in Innisfil would provide more energy efficiency to families and cut heating costs by about 30 to 40 percent.