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Innisfil’s industrial employment land expanded by ministerial order

In Council Watch
May 16th, 2020
Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark

Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark

Since early 2018, Innisfil has received more than 40 industrial-related inquiries from Toronto-area companies looking to relocate

By: Miriam King Barrie Today 

Development of the Town of Innisfil’s strategic settlement employment area at Innisfil Heights – located at Innisfil Beach Road and Highway 400 – has been held back by the high cost of servicing.

The land has municipal water, but no wastewater servicing. The cost of providing sewage collection and treatment has been prohibitive, based on the number of potential industrial lots within the Innisfil Heights boundaries.

Now, after years of petitioning, Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark has announced an expansion of the Innisfil Heights strategic settlement employment area, extending the area north to the boundary with the City of Barrie, and south to Innisfil’s Line 6.

The new boundaries expand the development land by an additional 200 hectares, greatly reducing the cost per acre for servicing.

The land is still restricted in use; only large-scale manufacturing, industry and warehousing are permitted. Retail and commercial uses are still not allowed.

Coun. Rob Nicol noted it has taken years of staff effort to get the expansion considered.

“It’s been 12 years before it was finally granted,” said Nicol, who also expressed hope that staff will continue to push and ask the minister to ease restrictions on allowed uses.

“I just really want to thank staff,” said Mayor Lynn Dollin, comparing the lengthy battle to “another Innisfil Creek drain,” a reference to the length of time it took to find a resolution to another Innisfil issue.

Dollin thanked the minister, adding that it took “years and years and years of going to meetings” to get the consideration.

“It diversifies what we have to offer here,” she added. “Getting this is a really proud moment for Innisfil.”

The town first requested an expansion in 2008, but it wasn’t until a 2016 report identified the cost of servicing, a planned new interchange at Highway 400 and Line 6 as justifications for expansion, and a 2017 County of Simcoe report that identified a shortfall in the amount of designated industrial land in Innisfil that the ministry agreed to reconsider.

The expansion marks “an important milestone” for the town, noted a planning document.

Since early 2018, Innisfil has received more than 40 industrial-related inquiries from GTA companies looking to relocate.

The original boundaries were confirmed in the 2012 Provincial Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Permitted uses were set by the ministry.

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