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6 Simcoe sub-area

6.1 Context

While this Plan is to be read in its entirety and all policies are applicable to all municipalities within the GGH, this section provides additional, more specific direction on how this Plan’s vision will be achieved in the Simcoe Sub-area. The Simcoe Sub-area is comprised of the County of Simcoe and the cities of Barrie and Orillia.

The policies in Section 6 direct a significant portion of growth within the Simcoe Sub-area to communities where development can be most effectively serviced, and where growth improves the range of opportunities for people to live, work, and play in their communities, with a particular emphasis on primary settlement areas. The City of Barrie is the principal primary settlement area. Downtown Barrie is the only urban growth centre in the Simcoe Sub-area. The policies in Section 6 recognize and support the vitality of urban and rural communities in the Simcoe Sub-area. All municipalities will play an important role in ensuring that future growth is planned for and managed in an effective and sustainable manner that conforms with this Plan. 

Ensuring an appropriate supply of land for employment and residential growth, and making the best use of existing infrastructure is also important to the prosperity of the Simcoe Sub-area. Section 6 identifies specific employment areas that will enable municipalities in the Simcoe Sub-area to benefit from existing and future economic opportunities. By providing further direction on where growth is to occur in the Simcoe Sub-area, it also establishes a foundation for municipalities to align infrastructure investments with growth management, optimize the use of existing and planned infrastructure, co-ordinate water and wastewater services, and promote green infrastructure and innovative technologies.

A more livable, compact, complete urban structure with good design and built form will support the achievement of economic and environmental benefits. Through effective growth management, municipalities will ensure that the natural environment is protected from the impacts of growth in the Simcoe Sub-area, while providing amenities for the residents and visitors to this area from across the GGH and beyond.

6.2 Growth forecasts

  1. Through the next municipal comprehensive review, Simcoe County will allocate the growth forecasts in Schedule 3 to lower-tier municipalities in accordance with policy 5.2.3.2 e) in a manner that implements the policies of this Plan, such that a significant portion of population and employment growth is directed to lower-tier municipalities that contain primary settlement areas.
  2. The employment forecasts in this Plan include employment located in the strategic settlement employment areas and economic employment districts.

6.3 Managing growth

  1. Primary settlement areas for the Simcoe Sub-area are identified in Schedule 8.
  2. Municipalities with primary settlement areas will, in their official plans and other supporting documents:
    1. identify primary settlement areas;
    2. identify and plan for strategic growth areas within primary settlement areas;
    3. plan to support the achievement of complete communities within primary settlement areas; and
    4. ensure the development of high quality urban form and public open spaces within primary settlement areas through site design and urban design standards that create attractive and vibrant places that support walking and cycling for everyday activities and are transit-supportive.
  3. Primary settlement areas in the County will be identified in the official plan of the County of Simcoe.
  4. The Town of Innisfil, the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury and the Town of New Tecumseth will direct a significant portion of population and employment growth forecasted to the applicable primary settlement areas. The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury and the Town of Innisfil, in planning to meet their employment forecasts, may direct appropriate employment to the Bradford West Gwillimbury strategic settlement employment area and the Innisfil Heights strategic settlement employment area respectively.
  5. Any lands that are designated for agricultural uses or rural uses in a lower-tier official plan as of January 20, 2017 can only be re-designated for the purposes of development within a settlement area subject to the policies in subsection 2.2.8.

6.4 Employment lands

  1. The Bradford West Gwillimbury strategic settlement employment area, the Innisfil Heights strategic settlement employment area, the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport economic employment district and the Rama Road economic employment district are identified in Schedule 8.
  2. The Minister, in consultation with affected municipalities and stakeholders, has determined the location and boundaries of strategic settlement employment areas, and has established as appropriate the following:
    1. permitted uses, and the mix and percentage of certain uses;
    2. permitted uses for specific areas within the strategic settlement employment areas;
    3. lot sizes; and
    4. any additional policies and definitions that apply to these areas.
  3. The Minister, in consultation with affected municipalities and stakeholders, has determined the location and boundaries, and established as appropriate the uses permitted in the economic employment districts.
  4. The Minister may review and amend decisions made pursuant to policies 6.4.2 and 6.4.3. Municipalities in the Simcoe Sub-area may request the Minister to consider a review.
  5. The County of Simcoe and lower-tier municipalities in the County in which the strategic settlement employment areas and economic employment districts are located, will delineate the areas and districts, as determined by the Minister, in their official plans.
  6. The lower-tier municipalities in the County in which the strategic settlement employment areas and economic employment districts are located will develop official plan policies to implement the matters determined by the Minister in accordance with policies 6.4.2, 6.4.3, and 6.4.4, as applicable.
  7. Although not settlement areas, the strategic settlement employment areas and economic employment districts are subject to policy 2.2.5.5.
  8. For lands within strategic settlement employment areas and the economic employment districts the municipality can identify the natural heritage systems, features, and areas for protection.

6.5 Implementation

  1. The policies in Section 6 apply only to the Simcoe Sub-area.
  2. For the Simcoe Sub-area, where there is a conflict between policies in Section 6 and Schedule 8 and the rest of this Plan, the policies in Section 6 and Schedule 8 prevail.
  3. The Minister has identified minimum intensification and density targets for lower-tier municipalities in the County of Simcoe to 2031. These minimum targets are considered to be alternative targets for the purposes of this Plan and will continue to apply subject to policy 5.2.5.9.
Updated: May 18, 2022
Published: April 16, 2019