New 20-year growth plan approved – and has a few surprises!

After four years of work, on June 2nd Council approved the secondary plans, infrastructure plan, and financial agreements that set out how Barrie will grow over the next 20 years.

It will be quite different from the last round of growth.   Barrie is forecast to add 70,000 people and almost 40,000 jobs over the next 20 years, but this time, more than 40% of new units will be inside the existing urban area.  This will be concentrated in the city core (not just downtown, but Bradford Street and certain parts of Allandale like Essa Road), but will also include major corridors and nodes around the city.

The new neighbourhoods in the annexation lands are being planned with parks and “village squares” – a square green open space – as well as shops and services within walking distance.  There is a major new business park in the area of MacKay Road and Highway 400, but there is no new large-scale retail area (just local stores and a few grocery store-size centres).

The financial agreements that have been reached for development of the new neighbourhoods are unprecedented in Ontario and are a good deal all around.  100% of growth related costs will be paid for by the development community.  The City will build infrastructure according to an agreed capital plan, with services being put in at the same time as growth occurs – not much later.

There’s a huge trove of information about this on the City’s growth management page, click here for info.

Also – the Examiner had a great editorial about this.  And they are very much correct – the trick now will be to stick to the plan for the years to come.