‘Our Place’ Public Open Houses

The Town of Innisfil has released Our Place, the Draft Official Plan which lays out objectives, planning policies, zoning and goals for our municipality. Residents have an opportunity to learn more about the plan at 2 drop-in Open Houses:

  • Thursday January 19, Lefroy Arena, 6 – 8 pm
  • Tues. January 24, IdeaLab /Library, Alcona 4 – 8 pm

The report outlines three goals:

  • Grow – “collaboratively develop a thriving community that embraces a managed level of growth, actively engages residents, attracts and supports business and promotes economic prosperity.”
  • Connect – “ensure opportunities exist for residents, businesses and organizations to connect in all ways that are meaningful – physically, socially, culturally and digitally.”
  • Sustain – actively maintain itself as a viable and vibrant community that fully embraces the principles of sustainability.”

Some of strategies for achieving these goals include: 

  • “Enable local economic opportunities for residents through support of local businesses; providing opportunity for value added agricultural activities; encourage businesses that support farming; and supporting investment in Innisfil Heights …”
  • “Manage growth in the Town in a manner that promotes intensification, provides for a range of housing choices, commercial services and employment opportunities …”
  • “Strengthen the attachment to place throughout the Town by providing gathering places both on a larger Town-wide scale and a smaller community and neighbourhood scale”
  • “Strengthen social connections within the community by providing opportunities for social interaction through public places and activities in those places …”
  • “Enhance the vitality of the downtowns in each of the settlement areas”
  • “Protect … significant natural features and areas and the natural heritage system that connects them …”
  • “Protecting the health of Lake Simcoe while improving public access to the waterfront”
  • “Preserve community character by maintaining the small town feel and the rural character of Innisfil’s countryside”

The Official Plan includes proposals for ‘place making’: “Plan for people first and create destinations for people to gather”:

“In order for these places to be enhanced as place making destinations, they need to be active and provide for a variety of events – music festivals, outdoor theatre, skating and games such as chess, ping pong and foosball. Destinations must also be accessible by all modes of transportation – walking, cycling, transit or car. There will need to be not only larger-scale Town-wide place making destinations in Our Place, but also smaller-scale gathering places where we can walk to and socialize with our neighbours.”

“The achievement of the strategies outlined in this Plan will require coalitions of empowered individuals, community groups, volunteers and stakeholders to implement them. The Town cannot complete these strategies alone.”

The Official Plan discusses objectives for each of Innisfil’s settlement neighbourhoods. There are some interesting ideas:

  • “The Municipal Civic Campus shall be designed to create a public square that can be programmed to create a place making destination that is designed and programmed to be a vibrant year round public space for the residents of the Town.”
  • The Town shall protect and conserve local agricultural food production capacity by restricting the fragmentation of agricultural lands, protecting areas of prime agricultural land and preserving rural and cultural landscapes
  • The Town shall encourage and permit farmers’ markets as-of-right within all commercial areas, Community Spaces and public parks in Innisfil
  • The Town shall explore opportunities to construct a permanent structure or structures for the purposes of a farmers’ market at the Municipal Civic Campus. The Town shall also explore opportunities for a farmer’s market at Innisfil Beach Park
  • The Town shall allow for the development of small-scale food processing facilities and distribution centres, including community kitchens, food co-ops and community food centres within Downtown Commercial Areas
  • completing the short, medium and long term network of multi-use trails, secondary trails, sidewalks, paved shoulders, sharrows, cycling lanes, and pedestrian crossings
  • identifying and demarcating safe pedestrian and cycling routes to schools and promoting these routes to our residents through maps and other materials
  • Public art will be encouraged throughout the Town in prominent public locations, particularly along streets and in parks, urban squares and around public community spaces. Public art shall reflect local history or traditions and should be relevant to the immediate vicinity where it is placed.

The full report is 269 pages with numerous maps and discusses numerous aspects of planning and implementation including residential and commercial areas, roads, transportation, agriculture, parks, community spaces, forestry and Lake Simcoe shoreline. It can be downloaded from the Town website.

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4 thoughts on “‘Our Place’ Public Open Houses

  1. The complete report is 269 pages long. This is ridiculous to expect people to download and print such an expansive document.
    Hopefully, as many residents as possible, will attend to this “open” forum, if anything but to attempt to understand the shortcomings of the various proposals.

    • Official Plans are long-term planning documents intended to guide urban planners, developers and municipal staff for years to come. It has to be comprehensive and cover all the bases. Most people will be interested in the portion(s) that discuss their neighbourhood. The public open house is a good opportunity to get a general overview and share your ideas. This is still a “draft”.

      • This response is exactly what I was hoping for. An explanation for the residents, including myself, who are not familiar with “political” procedures, especially small town issues.
        Thank you.

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