Legislating for Place-Making (3)

My last two articles summarized the Options and Recommendations contained in the Town’s “Draft Policy Directions Report” concerning specific aspects of Place-Making. This last summary covers the report’s discussion of urban intensification and growth management.

Growth Forecast & Intensification Target

The current Official Plan anticipates a population of 56,000 by 2031, about 22,300 more people than in 2011, and about 10,100 residences, including seasonal properties. This growth will take place in Built-up Areas (built-up as of 2006 within a settlement boundary) and in Designated Greenfield Areas (vacant land within a Settlement Area but outside a Built-up Area).

Provincial Policy requires “at least” a third (33%) of growth to take place within a Built-up Area. This is termed urban “intensification”. Most Ontario municipalities make this minimum their intensification target. The Report says, “This target is achievable and will be exceeded.”

While the current Official Plan set a target of 75% low-density housing, the Report’s recommendation is for 70% low-density housing, 20% townhouses, and 10% apartments by 2031.

More Construction Will Shift Toward Lefroy

“With no need to expand settlement areas to accommodate the 2031 population forecasts and as Alcona’s greenfield areas near build out, the residential growth will shift to Lefroy–Belle Ewart and Sandy Cove due to the large amount of greenfield lands in those settlement areas… The majority of infill and redevelopment will be focused in Alcona as set out below in the intensification strategy. Retail growth and expansion will also be focused in Alcona to enhance it as a complete community.” 

Settlement Hierarchy

“In addition to urban and village settlements, another category could be added to reflect the unique roles of Cookstown and Stroud in servicing the broader communities around them. The new category, which could be named “Service Centre Settlements”, would also recognize the servicing capacity constraints and resulting limited growth potential within the two settlements …”


Intensification Corridors

Intensification Corridors “include Innisfil Beach Road in Alcona, Killarney Beach Road in Lefroy-Belle Ewart, and Highway 89 through Cookstown … there is opportunity through this Official Plan review to identify additional intensification areas, primarily within Alcona, but also elsewhere in Innisfil”


  • Maintain the three currently recognized Intensification Corridors Only
  • Add the west side of 25th Side Road, south of Lockhart Road in Sandy Cove as an Intensification Corridor

  • Add Ewart Street in Lefroy-Belle Ewart as an Intensification Corridor
  • Add Innisfil Beach Road, east of 25th Sideroad to Lake Simcoe as an extension of the existing intensification corridor

Innisfil Beach Rd Options

  • Maintain current Intensification Policies along Innisfil Beach Road

“The current policies [permit] both commercial uses and mixed use buildings up to 7 storeys in height [east of Jans Blvd]. This policy direction does not focus commercial or residential intensification to specific locations …”

  • Focus Residential Intensification in one area of Innisfil Beach Road

“To kick start higher density residential intensification, the Town could focus its efforts in one area of Innisfil Beach Road … One possible area could be around the library where a multi-storey seniors residence is already located …”

  • Permit expansion of Core Commercial Area in Depth

“To accommodate intensification projects both residential and commercial along Innisfil Beach Road, consideration could be given to increasing the depth of the Core Commercial designation to include residential properties to the rear of current redevelopment sites.”

Protecting Stable Residential Areas


  • Limit lot severances in mature neighbourhoods

“Placing a limit or restrictions on lot severances would help to mitigate the impact of potentially incompatible residential dwellings”

  • Provide direction on desired built form in mature neighbourhoods

“The Official Plan could require that development within mature neighbourhoods have regard to the established heights of homes, established front and rear yard setbacks, separation distance between dwellings, and maintenance of a minimum landscaping requirement.”

Retail Growth

The Report anticipates a need for “50,000 square metres (541,000 square feet) of additional retail space by 2021 and 102,000 square metres (1.1 million square feet) of additional retail space by 2031.” Developing currently available lands in Alcona, Lefroy-Belle Ewart, Stroud and possibly Sandy Cove would total “approximately 41,000 sq. m. (440,000 square feet) to 52,000 sq. m. (560,000 square feet) of retail space.”


  • Accommodate new Retail Uses within the Current Designated Areas

By not designating additional retail lands, retailers will be forced to locate within the current designated sites particularly those along Innisfil Beach Road in Alcona in a main street setting and potentially in mixed use buildings … Assuming that approximately 50% to 80% of lands along Innisfil Beach Road would develop and re-develop, a range between 12,000 sq. m. (129,000 square feet) and 19,000 square metres (205,000 square feet) of retail could potentially be accommodated.

  • Westward expansion of Alcona settlement boundary, along Innisfil Beach Road

Expanding the Alcona settlement boundary westward possibly to the realigned 20th Sideroad would provide an opportunity to accommodate additional retail space particularly a department store and other larger, more land intensive retail uses. “

  • Proactively facilitate a Department Store Site in the Alcona Core

There are lands along Innisfil Beach Road in the Alcona Core Commercial Area that would be large enough to accommodate a department store through assembly of adjoining properties … Attracting a department store could help to kick start the commercial redevelopment along Innisfil Beach Road.

  • Plan for Convenience Retail in each Settlement but focus Higher Order Commercial in one location

“Providing for convenience retail including food shopping in each settlement area provides a destination for residents for day to day needs … Due to the size of Innisfil and the competing retail areas around it, higher order comparison goods shopping should be clustered in one area such as Downtown Alcona.”

  • Establish a Destination (or Destinations) in Downtown Alcona

“Successful retail areas and main streets often contain an anchor tenant or destination … Additional anchors are needed. . These anchors or destinations could be a department store, a major retailer, a farmer’s market, a community theatre or a public square that is actively programmed. It can also be a collection of popular restaurants”

  • Require Stores that Attract Many Shoppers to Locate Downtown

“… focus uses such as banks, liquor and beer stores (stores that attract a lot of shoppers) to be located along Innisfil Beach Road, within these destination areas.”

What’s Next?

“Following … further public engagement opportunities in the new year, preferred policy strategies will be developed and documented in a subsequent update to this report.”