Concept to Concrete

My last posting seems to have been popular enough that I thought I would share some developer’s images of another Alcona project in the works.  The Abandel project on the north side of Innisfil Beach Road extending east from Jans Blvd. has gone through two previous proposals over the last four years. The latest design appears to be moving ahead. Billboards with artist concepts have been posted on-site presumably to attract leasing interest.

The corner site (Innisfil Beach Rd at Jans Blvd.) will provide, I believe, a multi-story mixed-use residential, office and commercial space.:

Aben-condo

Source: Abandel billboard image

Additional buildings with retails space will face Innisfil Beach Rd. :

Aben-Retail1

Source: Abandel billboard image -retail concept

No construction work has been initiated yet although construction is expected to progress through next year.

Meanwhile, Simcoe County continues to make progress on the widening of Innisfil Beach Rd. (County Rd. 21) to four lanes, extending east from Thornton. The Transportation and Engineering Dept. 2018 project schedule included several intersection improvements and design and engineering preparations. A recent Public Notice of property expropriation along Innisfil Beach Rd. (up to Alcona) also indicates the project is approaching another phase toward implementation.

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Mixed Use Developments Rise in Alcona

IBRMHBC

Illustration (MHBC Planning): Janis Ramsey – Metroland

While a seniors residence with ground floor retail is currently under way at the corner of Innisfil Beach Road and the 25th Sideroad, Innisfil residents had the opportunity on March 6 to examine plans for a multi-use development at Jans Blvd. and Innisfil Beach Rd. and adjoining lots (1124 – 1154 Innisfil Beach Rd., illustrated above)

This plan includes a seven-storey building with retail and 147 condo units. The proposal also includes retail and office buildings, two restaurants and three blocks of townhouses.

The Open House was called to review plan amendments concerning “minimum front yard setback, minimum building height, and rear yard setback for accessory structure.” Subdivision of the lands would create “new property lines between the residential townhouse, multi-tenant commercial, restaurant and mixed-use commercial/residential uses. Five accesses are planned – two from Innisfil Beach Rd., two from Jans Blvd., and one from Goshen Rd.”

A Public Meeting to further examine this plan is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21 at 6:00 pm at Town Hall. There will be a formal presentation followed by questions and comments. The proposal then returns to Staff to consider comments and submissions in order to prepare a final recommendation to Council at a future date.

Innisfil Dates to Circle

There are several approaching events that various Innisfil residents might want to circle on their calendars:

Monday, January 29 – Revitalizing Cookstown
Cookstown Library, 20 Church St., 6:30 pm

A “grassroots” meeting to help local businesses and organizations discuss how to bring new vitality to Cookstown. Innisfil’s Economic Development Catalyst will moderate a discussion of three possible strategies and invite additional ideas.

Wednesday, January 31 – Protecting Water Sources
Barrie – Southshore Centre, 205 Lakeshore Dr., 5:30 – 800 pm

An Open House sponsored by the Ontario government to let the public examine proposals to protect regional water sources by extending the Greenbelt.

Wednesday, February 7 – Over-Water Development Application
Town Hall 7:00 pm

Boathouse

Council will consider a zoning amendment to permit construction of a 2,764 S.F. boathouse complex, (foundation shown in photo) which would cover approximately 1/4 acre of Lake Simcoe.

February Blues Festival at IPL / IdeaLab

Had enough ‘serious’ stuff? It’s time for the Blues Festival, at Cookstown Branch Saturday February 3, 11 am to 2 pm with the Django Djunkies; and in Alcona at Lakeshore Branch, Sunday February 4, 2 pm to 5 pm with Richard Whiteman and Kurt Neilson.

Urbanization Approaching Reality

On Wednesday, December 6, Council formally received a proposal for an eight-story condo with street-front retail. The development is proposed for the north side of Innisfil Beach Road, adjacent to Alcona Home Hardware and west of the corner plaza.

SeniorCondo

Development Proposal – 828 Innisfil Beach Road

The building would consist of eight floors and 80 residential units. Designed as an adult building for ‘seniors’ aged 55+, the condo units would consist of one and two bedroom layouts. The ground floor would provide a total of about 5,000 square feet of retail space along the street. Parking is situated behind the building in a lot with a landscaped perimeter. In a unique approach to snow management, a snow melter would be utilized to remove accumulations.

In some ways, watching the planning process play out in Innisfil is the municipal equivalent of watching paint dry. The final report of the Inspiring Innisfil Official Plan was released in February 2011. It advocated for an “urban core”. The design guidelines proposed multi-storey zoning in an Innisfil Beach Road commercial zone with retail situated at the street. More than six years later we are just beginning to see this concept take shape. Two other buildings are reaching completion near Adullam Ave., and a multi-storey rental building is expected to receive approval for the south side of Innisfil Beach Rd at the 25th Sideroad.

This development addresses several needs. It provides local accommodation for an aging population (a neighbor has reluctantly moved to Barrie recently); it fills a gap in the streetscape with more convenient local retail and encourages more activity (social and economic) on the street. The condo proposal has been working its way through the planning and approval process since May of 2016 and reached a final proposal of zoning bylaw amendments in November this year. The building proposal was received as ‘information only’. The development will require Council approval of some zoning bylaw amendments concerning height (8 instead of 7 stories) and small changes to setbacks. The developer’s plan comes back to Council for consideration in the spring.

Download PDF:

828 Innisfil Beach Road ZBA & OPA Presentation

Place Making in – Alcona

Placemaking concepts contained in the draft Official Plan, Our Place, for Alcona focuses on the portion of Innisfil Beach Road from Jans Blvd. to Innisfil Beach Park as a “compact and walkable commercial core”.

“With the right mix of commercial and civic uses, active parks and plazas, and opportunities for community gatherings, Innisfil residents will have more reasons to walk.” To that end, suggestions for this area include:

  • “a town square to serve as a gateway to the commercial core of Alcona that could include a coffeehouse, outdoor seating options and a play area visible from the street. Introducing visible activity at the entrance to the commercial district will encourage people to park their cars and explore.”
  • “The parking lot at C.W. Coops is currently underutilized and has the potential to become redeveloped as a semi-enclosed public space with benches and a fountain. Parking can be relocated to the rear allowing for more visible activity on the street.”
  • “a bike/pedestrian loop via roads and trails connecting Alcona to other destinations in Innisfil.”
  • “Strengthen and intensify the corridor by encouraging mixed-use buildings with retail on the ground floor and residential above, fronting the sidewalks. Limit building heights, and consider the architectural treatment of the buildings and storefronts with the goal of enlivening the street and creating an attractive retail
  • “Program the spaces in front of and behind the library to include outdoor activities such as concerts and performances, outdoor reading rooms, art displays, movies, children’s play and small maker fairs or markets.”
  • “Create a teen hangout space with a plaza where the Idea Lab is currently located, providing indoor uses such as a pool hall and coffee bar with unique seating, and outdoor activities that could occur in the area currently occupied by the parking lot such as games, outdoor study areas, an outdoor skate park, and a lounge area.”

Several Place Making ideas extend to Innisfil Beach Park as another focus of community activity:

  • A community garden and outdoor oven to be used by the community for communal dinners, gardening events, plant sales and children’s classes.
  • Beer garden and picnic area
  • An environmental education and welcome centre that functions all year to showcase the ecological assets of the park area and connects to the nature trail along the creek.
  • Waterfront restaurants with outdoor dining
  • A quiet area to sit and relax on hammocks and lounge chairs
  • Opportunities for water activities such as such as canoeing, kayaking, water trampolines and boat rentals, supported by cafes, food kiosks and a beach shop.
  • Provide a complete walking loop around the park that can also be used for cross country skiing in the winter.
  • Transform one of the existing structures into an information and snack kiosk that opens into the park with outdoor seating options near by and located in close proximity to the playground.

Of course, the Official Plan also addresses other vital questions about parks and community spaces, transportation, neighbourhood growth, densities and development, commercial areas, employment areas, sustainability, natural heritage system, “countryside”, and Lake Simcoe shoreline. Policies and proposals in the plan aim to ensure that Innisfil is socially, culturally, physically and digitally connected.

Mapping the Future

The last major Official Plan, Inspiring Innisfil, was released in February 2011. It focused on a strategy of creating a stronger community identity, linking scattered neighbourhoods, focusing on development of an urban centre, developing tourism assets, business development and retention, and heritage preservation.

This past week saw the release of Innisfil’s latest Official Plan review, Our Place which will guide development and employment to 2031. It proposes the development of numerous public spaces, gathering places, and commercial clusters to enliven each of our neighbourhoods as places to meet, play, entertain and thrive. It proposes uses for Innisfil Heights employment lands.

I have not had a chance to review it thoroughly but will be discussing many of these ideas in future postings. I think that many Innisfil residents will be intrigued, if not excited, about many of the creative ideas suggested for their area.

To begin consultations, a public Open House is being held on Wednesday, November 1 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall to inform residents and receive comments. This will be followed by a public meeting at Town Hall on Wednesday, November 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Residents should download the Official Plan documents to learn the specific proposals for their neighbourhood and for major Town locations such as libraries, Innisfil Beach Park and the Town municipal campus.

Our Place Official Plan Documents
email comments: ourplace@innisfil.ca
An online survey will also be made available on the Town website.