Ontario Unveils Growth Vision for Simcoe Area

    McGuinty Government Plan Focuses on Sustainability and Job Creation

    TORONTO, June 4 /CNW/ -


    The McGuinty government today laid out a bold vision for the Simcoe area
that will help create jobs, curb urban sprawl and protect its environment over
the long-term.

    Simcoe Area: A Strategic Vision for Growth outlines key priorities for
ensuring sustainable long-term growth in the area - these include:

    -   Curbing urban sprawl by focusing new development into existing cities
        and towns that already contain a mix of uses and services and can
        accommodate growth through intensification.
    -   Building on Simcoe's diverse economic base to create new jobs along
        the Highway 400 and Highway 11 corridors.
    -   Protecting greenspaces and agricultural areas, and creating a cleaner
        Lake Simcoe by minimizing urban expansions and the impacts of urban
    -   Outlining a clear future for the City of Barrie as the area's largest
        urban centre and its role in fulfilling the Simcoe area vision.

    Opportunities to comment on the proposed plan will ensure that today's
Simcoe area residents have a chance for their voices to be heard as the
strategy for the future of their region is finalized.
    Along with the release of the Simcoe area strategic vision, the Ontario
government today introduced legislation that would, if passed, expand Barrie's
municipal boundary by approximately 2,293 hectares (5,666 acres) effective
January 1, 2010, ending a longstanding boundary dispute.


    "This strategic vision for the Simcoe area will ensure that its future
growth is managed in a way that simultaneously enhances job creation and
quality of life, offering residents new opportunities within sustainable
communities while protecting the region's prized environmental treasures."
    Hon. George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and

    "Resolving the Barrie and Innisfil boundary issue will allow all the
municipalities in the Simcoe area to be better poised to meet the needs of
their residents and businesses."
    Hon. Jim Watson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

    "The time is now for the province to show leadership in the Simcoe area.
If we don't act now, we will see ever more farmland paved over, more
congestion, more sprawl, declining water quality, and the destruction of
important natural environments - none of us can afford that. The Province has
it right."
    Joe Berridge, Partner, Urban Strategies Inc.

    "This is the right thing to do. The province has clarified the rules of
the game to ensure that the right kind of development starts to take place.
Business as usual is simply not an option."
    Paul Bedford, Planning Expert


    -   The Simcoe area will grow to a population of 667,000 by the year
        2031. This represents realistic and manageable growth compared to the
        total population levels being proposed in speculative development
        applications throughout the area.
    -   To accommodate this growth, Barrie is designated as the area's anchor
        urban centre, with additional urban growth principally targeted in
        Orillia, Collingwood, Alliston and Bradford.
    -   73,000 new jobs are forecast for the Simcoe area between today and
        2031. The province's strategy includes the proposed identification of
        key strategic employment areas to take advantage of access to Highway
        400 and Highway 11.
    -   The Simcoe area has a diverse economic base that includes
        agriculture, resource-based industries, manufacturing, research and
        creative industries and a strong service sector.



                                                      Disponible en français


                           ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

    The Simcoe area is growing. By 2031, the population is forecast to be
667,000 people. In order to ensure that growth and development enhance quality
of life in the area, the proposed strategy, Simcoe Area: A Strategic Vision
for Growth identifies key urban areas for growth and future strategic
employment areas. Barrie is designated as the area's primary urban centre,
with additional urban growth principally targeted to Orillia, Collingwood,
Alliston, and Bradford where more vibrant communities with a greater range of
options for living, working and getting around will be created. In addition,
strategic employment areas on Highway 400 and Highway 11 economic districts
are also identified in the proposed strategy to spur future economic
opportunities in the area.

    To view a map of the Conceptual Urban Structure for the Simcoe Area,
please see: http://files.newswire.ca/807/map.doc.

    The strategy also proposes population allocations for all communities in
the Simcoe area, to ensure that growth is focused in those communities where
it can best be accommodated.

    To view a chart showing population allocations please see:

    In June 2006, the Province issued a new and substantive plan to better
manage growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: The Growth Plan for the Greater
Golden Horseshoe. The Growth Plan sets out a 25-year vision and integrated
policies to curb urban sprawl and create livable neighbourhoods and
communities, while protecting valuable natural areas and water resources.
    Simcoe Area: A Strategic Vision for Growth builds on the award-winning
Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006. It proposes a strategy for
the Simcoe area including Simcoe County, the City of Barrie and the City of
Orillia and provides direction on managing the rapid growth that is occurring
in this complex area governed by multiple municipal governments.

                                                      Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Amy Tang, MEI Minister's Office, (416)
327-6747; Eric Pelletier, MEI Communications Branch, (416) 325-1810; Adam
Grachnik, MAH Minister's Office, (416) 585-6492; Larry Clay, MAH Municipal
Services Office, (416) 585-7264

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