Making Room for More

Cookstown is next in line for more development according to the latest rezoning notices. Although some people resent the level of change that new development brings, it is being driven by provincial policy that requires planning for a growing population. Either we spread out or gather closer. Rezoning is the equivalent of spreading further out. Intensification is the equivalent of the signs on streetcars: “Please move to the back of the car”. We have a set amount of space on our particular ‘car’ neighbourhoods and we’re being asked to also gather closer together.

On Wednesday July 27, 2016, Council will consider rezoning land north of Victoria Street West in Cookstown from Agricultural General to Residential (R3), Residential Semi-Detached (RS) and Open Space (OS) according to plan of subdivision by Victoria Street Development Inc. (no map was published with the notice)

At the same meeting, Council will consider an application to “redesignate” lands on Queen Street from Rural Area and Natural Environmental Area to Residential Low Density 1; Parks & Open Space; and Natural Environmental Area. This would enable a future residential Plan of Subdivision, pending Official Plan approval, which would allow for approximately 152 residential units on the site.


Over in Alcona, Abendel’s site plan (east of Jans Blvd.) for strip retail, bank, office building and townhouses has been referred back to staff and a report and recommendations may also return to Council by July 27. Property adjacent to No Frills grocery in Alcona may also be the future site of a Swiss Chalet and Harvey’s restaurants if approvals are secured.

The Innisfil Heritage Committee continues to advocate with Council (since 2010) for the preservation of the c. 1880 McConkey home, which was the former residence, on Innisfil Beach Road, of the current mayor. So far Council has refused to add it to the Heritage registry, a step that would delay any demolition for 60 days. The committee listed the town’s options as:

  • Register the property (60 day delay to demolition)
  • File an Intent to Designate the property (90 day freeze)
  • Negotiate with the developer to preserve the home in the development or move it to another site
  • Allow demolition if materials are salvaged and reused
  • Do nothing

Once again, no action was taken as Councillor Donna Orsatti moved for the report to be referred back to staff for further study of the third option.