A public meeting at Town Hall is scheduled on January 29, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. to invite public comment on an application for subdivision and rezoning by Cortel Group for lands east of the GO rail line and north of the Sixth Line. The project is known as the “Sleeping Lion”. This is the next step in the development process following a public meeting held in May, 2013 related to an amendment of Innisfil’s Official Plan.
It was originally conceived as a larger development extending east and west from the CN rail tracks at the sixth line. Cortel Group applied to the Town in October 2004 to expand the Alcona Secondary Plan Area to include 105 hectares that are the subject of the current proposal. Ontario’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which attempts to control urban sprawl, was released in 2006.
In 2009, the Town had proposed an expansion of the Alcona settlement area to accommodate an addition of 10,000 people to Alcona as part of a target growth for all of Innisfil of 65,000 in 2031. The Province filed an appeal of the Official Plans for both Innisfil and County of Simcoe in November 2009. No hearing date is set. The same year, Cortel appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for a decision on its application.
The Town and developer reached a pre-hearing settlement, with the OMB ruling in September 2011 that “the proposed Official Plan Amendment … as modified, constitutes good planning and is in the public interest”. The Sleeping Lion lands were redesignated from “Rural” to “Alcona South Urban Policy Area”. Innisfil made a draft Secondary Plan public in December 2011. However, the Province introduced an Amendment to the Growth Plan in January 2012 reducing population growth targets throughout the Simcoe region. As a result, the amended Growth Plan “does not provide sufficient population to support approval of the full Draft Alcona South Secondary Plan”.
This smaller, revised Sleeping Lion plan is described as “a complete healthy community complemented by low impact design measures”. Features include:
- A retail/commercial mixed-use area built east, instead of west, of the rail tracks designed as a ‘main street’ element and built to a higher density than previously proposed. It could be expanded in the future but would exclude any ‘big box’ concepts. The higher density would be “transit supportive”.
- The mixed use area would include a ‘pedestrian plaza’ to support restaurant patios, passive recreation and possible other uses such as a Farmers’ Market.
- Five parks instead of three, consisting of one “central neighbourhood park (4 ha.) and four parkettes (0.5 ha). Each resident would be within a 200 metre walking distance of a park or parkette.
- Removal of an existing woodlot is offset by “low impact design; … stormwater management, … additional park space and … improved vehicular access”.
- Land use would consist of Low Density: 67% of area with approx.. 700 units; Medium Density: 11% of area with approx. 200 units; and High Density: 9% of area with 900 units;
- Overall: about 56% single family units and 44% townhouses and apartments; average 57 persons and jobs per hectare
- The developer projects an elementary student population of about 250 and a School Board-owned site at Webster Blvd is expected to accommodate enrollment from South Alcona. The school board projects a slight decline at Alcona Glen and Innisfil Central Public Schools so no additional elementary school site is proposed.