Wonders if Midland and Penetanguishene are defined as one or two main settlement areas, worries Midland mayor
The next 30 years are shaping up to be a boom in population growth and employment, according to the province’s projections, but a county-wide study has the mayor of Midland curious about clarifying the boundaries.
Across Simcoe County, a Comprehensive Municipal Review (REM) exercise is currently underway aimed at bringing the official plans of the 16 local municipalities of Simcoe into line with the County Growth Plan, in accordance with the Plan of Provincial Growth: A Place To Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (PGPGH).
The province has asked Simcoe County to forecast 555,000 people and 198,000 jobs by 2051, and a land needs assessment to determine growth in existing core settlement areas is part of the necessary allocation process.
A staff report was presented at a recent Midland council meeting where Mayor Stewart Strathearn noted that the city had forecast growth of about 225,000 by 2030, and asked staff to provide the numbers. preliminary allocation required to bring this valuation base to 2051.
“I understand that Collingwood, Midland, Penetanguishene and one other municipality lie on the edge of the settlement area that corresponds to the purpose of this allocation,” Strathearn added, “so we probably won’t see anything more in terms of growth zone regulation unless we request it.
Adam Farr, executive director of planning, construction and regulations, told council discussions with the county consultation team would determine those numbers and acknowledged the nuance regarding the supply of land in pristine areas, the opening of land for residential development and economies of scale. to support the necessary services.
“One of the key issues that staff engage with the county,” Farr replied, “whether or not there is enough land to receive a potential population allocation. This really raises the question of whether the boundaries of the settlement area are effectively defined to allow the city to develop. “
Strathearn’s second question was specifically about Midland’s allocation, and because Midland and the neighboring town of Penetanguishene are listed as major settlement areas in the GPGGH, what would be the numbers of the two towns combined.
“The county treats it as two separate and distinct main settlement areas,” Farr replied, “going through all the necessary land supply calculations on a discrete basis, without merging the two.
“In terms of south versus north, this exercise divides municipalities – between those that are GTA oriented and those that are more Barrie oriented, would be a simple way to describe it – as major hubs. So you see communities like Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Clearview; these are included in the North Simcoe area with Midland and other northern municipalities, compared to other southern municipalities like Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil, ”said Farr.
Strathearn noted that the county seemed to ignore Schedule 8 of the GPGGH to designate the two towns as a single settlement area, but left that question to staff.
“Sounds like a pretty interesting inconsistency to me,” Strathearn said.
Com. Bill Gordon, who described the document as “a beast of report” that is important to both residents and businesses, raised a point about natural heritage site designations in the proposed assignments, but Farr responded that such cases would be reviewed at the municipal level on a case-by-case basis to spend all options before reaching a county-level review.
“I just want to be clear that the current designations you see on the recently approved official plan don’t block every acre of naturally designated land,” Farr said. “There are mechanisms to assess them and to determine if there is potential for development, but this raises an element of unpredictability in terms of the exercise that is currently taking place at the county level.”
CAO David Denault had the final say, highlighting the talent of the staff hired to tackle Midland’s future in the next generation.
“Rest assured that this is a very important process that we are participating in,” said Denault. “We know that growth is really important to Midland for a number of reasons; mainly, because I think it’s really fundamental to our sustainability.
“We have one of the oldest populations, we know our income levels are among the lowest in Simcoe, and we need growth from both an employment and resident perspective.
“So it is very important to make sure that the province and the county understand what Midland has to offer, what Midland is capable of and what our needs are,” he said. “This is one of those processes where we can call it.”
Recently, the Township of Tiny also discussed the impact of their projected numbers in North Simcoe according to the MCR exercise, in the hope of reducing the county density from 32 people and jobs per hectare to 12 in the township. .
Council meetings are held the first and third Wednesdays of each month and can be viewed on Rogers TV cable channel 53 or live on the Rogers TV website. Archives of council meetings are available on Rogers TV and the Town of Midland YouTube channel.