Bulldozers will be busy in the town for the upcoming year as many residential and commercial projects hit the ground. “Innisfil’s gone through tremendous growth in recent memory,” the town’s manager of land use planning Tim Cane said.
Alcona and Lefroy have seen their share, but more projects are on the books for 2018. “There’s some large tracts of land in Sandy Cove that are available for development in that settlement area, so you’ll see those projects start to take off,” said Cane. There’s also the Sleeping Lion subdivision in south Alcona which will continue to expand, along with San Diego Homes, Friday Harbour and Alcona Downs south of Innisfil Beach Road. “We have pockets of subdivisions too like Churchill Downs in Churchill and Cookshill North in Cookstown, which will be the last one in Cookstown for a while,” Cane said. But Innisfil residents shouldn’t notice a boom like Vaughan or Barrie did. “Those boom times for the other municipalities in the 80s or 90s didn’t have the benefit of the provincial growth plan, so there wasn’t as much focus behind creating a hard edge between urban and rural as there is now.”
This summer, the province introduced new density targets for municipalities like Innisfil, dictating that growth should be contained in Alcona, Lefroy and Cookstown. “They are attempting to make use of our infrastructure; (it’s) more efficient to put more people in a smaller area,” Cane said. “It’s trying to reduce the sprawl and keep the important landscape of Innisfil. We’ve heard people like to drive through Innisfil because they drive through agricultural landscapes on their way to work. It’s a chance to decompress from Hwy. 400.” The County of Simcoe is also looking at that provincial legislation and has yet to make its growth decision for Innisfil. “When a new subdivision comes online, it impacts all sorts of things,” Cane said. “It’s utilizing the road network, our library. our parks and using servicing capacity.”
And the town is in the midst of updating its official plan in order to be ready for the continuing growth. Part of that planning is keeping the environment in mind with an updated phosphoros and stormwater management plan in subdivisions, working with area conservation authorities. But Cane is conscious about mixing the higher condo buildings in historic neighbourhoods. “The official plan wants to maintain the character of the neighbourhoods people have fallen in love with, but at the same time, creating a new character for new developments,” Cane said. And now that residential subdivisions are well underway, the retail landscape is about to change, he added. “Innisfil has historically been undersupplied with retail, now that we’re getting that momentum, we’re attracting the attention of major retailers.”
Janis Ramsay Innisfil Journal 01/JAN/2018