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.

 

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7th Line Gets a Lakeside Makeover

Map7thL

A Public Open House is being held on Wednesday, October 11 to invite public comment on a plan to facilitate road improvements to the 7th Line from the 20th Sideroad to Lake Simcoe. According to the public notice, the purpose is to “accommodate future growth … and to address capacity and operational deficiencies affecting the subject corridor”. Yeah, I don’t know what that means either, but the notice goes on to say, “improvements will be made to the existing road cross-section and intersections including provisions for active transportation (i.e. walking, cycling etc.) and municipal servicing.” The project covers a distance of approximately 3 km.

This is the first of two planned Public Open Houses. Residents can drop by between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm on October 11 at the Town Hall to review “alternative solutions” being considered, ask questions and offer comments.

Those not able to attend the Open House will be able to access documents online at the Town website (www.innisfil.ca/7thea) after October 11. Residents will be able to submit comments to the Town on the plan until October 25.

Celebrate and Contemplate

Next week (July 22) Innisfil Beach Park will be the site for Celebrate Lake Simcoe. It will be in recognition of its importance to our lives and an opportunity to learn about efforts to restore and maintain a clean lake and watershed for this region. Indigenous people will participate this year with a traditional pow wow and displays of their own.

Recent events make it all the more important to celebrate clean water and motivate us to ensure clean water for everyone. The mercury poisoning scandal at Grassy Narrows caused by industrial contamination of the Wabigoon River (up to 50 years ago and continuing today) may be one of the most neglected environmental disasters in history. At the end of June the Ontario government committed $85 million toward clean-up of this “gross neglect”. But a resolution will require more years of effort while almost all members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation exhibit symptoms of some neurological damage.

I’m reminding my readers of this because of an alarming report published in the American Chemical Society Journal and recently described in Science Daily and Clean Technica. One headline reads, “Waste Water from Fracking Pollutes Pennsylvania Watershed”.  Continue reading

‘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:  Continue reading

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.”  Continue reading

Yield to Flashing Green Light

GrnEmerg

Photo: niagaraadvance.ca

I was walking on Innisfil Beach Rd a few weeks ago when I saw a fire truck race past with lights and siren on. Almost immediately I saw two vehicles rushing in the opposite direction with a green light flashing on the dashboard. Evidently, the drivers in front of them didn’t realize that the green light indicates that these are volunteer firefighters urgently heading to the fire hall for vehicles and equipment. Fortunately, they did manage to safely pass the cars ahead of them with a brief delay.

New residents to Innisfil may not be aware that volunteer responders are equipped with a green emergency light. If you see a green flashing light in your rear view mirror please pull over immediately and let them pass. Share this information with your new neighbours.