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Planning For Growth In Simcoe Area

Archived Backgrounder

Planning For Growth In Simcoe Area

Ministry of Infrastructure

The Simcoe area is home to busy urban centres, historic villages, beautiful natural areas and productive farmland. The area, which includes the County of Simcoe and the cities of Barrie and Orillia, is also facing complex growth challenges and intense development pressure. Managing this population growth will help ensure families in the Simcoe area continue to enjoy good jobs, strong communities and a healthy environment.

The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006

The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, released in 2006, sets out a vision and policies to promote healthy communities in Ontario's fastest-growing region. Many communities in this region, which stretches from Niagara to Peterborough, are already seeing the benefits of this plan, including revitalized downtowns, less sprawl, job opportunities closer to home and more transportation choices.

Growth Planning in Simcoe

Ontario has long recognized the need for a made-in-Simcoe approach to development that ensures communities in this unique area can grow and support jobs, while curbing urban sprawl and continuing to protect green spaces, water quality and valuable farmland.

Starting in 2009, the Province started building a strategy to achieve these goals. Key elements of this strategy include:

In 2010, the Province proposed an amendment to the Growth Plan to address planning and development in the Simcoe area. Since then, the Province has consulted extensively with Simcoe-area municipalities and other stakeholders to develop a shared vision for growth.

The Amendment to the Growth Plan

The final amendment, which comes into effect today, sets out a made-in-Simcoe approach that will work hand-in-hand with other provincial policies and plans.

The amendment:

  • Gives municipalities in the Simcoe area flexibility to approve development that makes sense for their communities
  • Focuses population growth in existing communities to limit sprawl, protect farmland and the environment, and make the most of existing infrastructure, such as roads, public transit and sewers
  • Supports planning certainty and local decision-making by distributing clear forecasts to Barrie, Orillia and municipalities in the County of Simcoe
  • Unlocks Simcoe's economic potential by identifying strategic employment areas and kick-starting development that will create jobs and support local businesses

Where the Amendment Applies

The amendment applies only to the County of Simcoe and the cities of Barrie and Orillia. The growth plan's policies from 2006 continue to apply to other municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

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