Currently, the County of Simcoe is looking for public input on its proposed growth strategy. The idea behind it is to have a “Made In Simcoe” plan to comply with the Province’s Places To Grow legislation. Basically, it looks at how much growth we should have, where it should be located and what we need to do to accommodate that growth in a sustainable way. As you can imagine, that is a mammoth undertaking. In my personal opinion, the preliminary findings are headed in the wrong direction however, we’ll save politics for another arena.
What this process does is make us focus on growth issues in our own unique area here in South Georgian Bay.
Did you know that there are over 6200 residential units proposed or approved for development in Collingwood alone? In addition, there are several other industrial, commercial and other types of development planned.
According to the last census, Collingwood had about 8100 households. If all of the new units materialize, that would represent a 77% increase in the number of households. Of further interest is that 60% of the proposed new units are to be condominium units and 40% single family homes.
In Wasaga Beach, there are over 80 development applications in some stage of process plus, proposed expansions to industrial and commercial lands. In the Town of the Blue Mountains, there are over 5500 units on the books yet none of these come close to the over 8000 units under consideration in Clearview.
If all of these come to fruition, we will more than double our populations in the next 10-20 years. That means getting very serious about managing growth. You probably hear things like “Integrated Community Sustainability Planning” that makes your eyes cross and your ears tune out but really, it is essential that we look hard and fast at this issue. Anti-idling and pesticide free by-laws are a nice start but they are token steps compared to what we need to do. Intensification, LEED building, preservation of heritage buildings, new grids, pedestrian orientations, source water protection, regional transit, alternative energies and shared resources are but a very few of the key areas we need to zero in on.
Most municipal websites have some information on proposed developments but you may have to wade through numerous committee minutes to find them. Collingwood has a development map that shows all proposed developments. If you are interested in viewing the one from December, 2007 you can find it here.
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