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Appeals filed over Barrie Fair site in Essa

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In Essa
Aug 13th, 2010
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By Maija Hoggett Simcoe.com Aug 10, 2010
ESSA – As the Barrie Agricultural Society works to secure its new home in Essa, the process has hit a hiccup.
The province received two appeals to an amendment to Simcoe County’s official plan that would allow for the society to build an agriplex and host its annual fair on its property in Essa Township. The appeals were similar and were sent to the province just as the deadline for public input was set to expire at the end of July.
Moving the Barrie Fair to the Essa property has been controversial, especially to some neighbouring residents in Ivy.
The proposed changes to the official plan affect the 100-acre site on farmland at the northwest corner of the 20th Sideroad and the 10th Line in Ivy owned by the Barrie Agricultural Society.
The property is currently designated agricultural. The proposed county amendment maintains this designation, but allows for special exceptions – notably to host the fair, which includes a midway.
The appeals to the province argued that hosting an annual agricultural fair should not be included in the amendment. An annual agricultural fair and midway, said the appeals, “are commercial and business in nature and do not belong on prime agricultural farm land or in Simcoe County’s rural landscape. The purpose of the official plan is to protect and preserve the integrity of Simcoe County.”
Approval to change the county’s official plan is needed before Essa Township can approve a zoning bylaw amendment and site plan for the property.
“(The appeal) stalls anything else from happening in terms of getting approvals,” said Kathy Suggitt, Simcoe County policy planning manager.
The appeals mean the amendment will go before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), unless the county and the appellants can come to an understanding before then.
If it does go to an OMB hearing, Suggitt doesn’t anticipate a lengthy process.
“It can probably be scoped to a couple of days or so, maybe maximum a week, but the fact that it has been appealed means we’re at the mercy of the board in terms of scheduling a time for the hearing or a pre-hearing,” she said.
While the appeal and other planning details are figured out at the township and county levels, the Barrie Agricultural Society is hosting its fair this year at a temporary location. It’s being held in Cookstown from Aug. 27 to 29 at the Georgian Bay Steam Show Grounds on the 14th Line at the 20th Sideroad of New Tecumseth.
The fair will retain its big agricultural shows, exhibits and family entertainment, but the cattle shows will be in Orangeville because of a lack of facilities.

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