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Bear Creek Village too much for its neighbours in southwest Barrie

'I would have thought there would be more creativity and not just back-to-back townhouses,' resident says at public meeting

Southwest Barrie residents say a single family neighbourhood and dense development don’t mix.

A public meeting was held Tuesday night for a rezoning application needed for a proposed residential development at 189 Summerset Dr., near the intersection of Ardagh Road and Wright Drive. 

Developer Wynstar Bear Creek LP wants to construct 218 back-to-back condominium townhouse units, three and four storeys high, and a 90-unit, six storey apartment building, for a total of 308 residential units. This nearly 11.1-acre property is located on the north side of Ardagh Road and is bordered by the Summerset Drive extension.

Sandy Fisher, who lives on Wildflower Court, said she was speaking for 72 area residents and voiced opposition to Bear Creek Village on several levels, including density.

“It (the proposed development) does not match the current housing,” she said. “The land will be a parking lot with buildings.”

Primrose Crescent resident Steve Trotter wasn’t impressed, either.

“I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I would have thought there would be more creativity and not just back-to-back townhouses,” he said. “There’s no variety of built form.”

Lorraine McQuoid also said the proposed density was too much.

“There is quite a difference between a single family home neighbourhood and a proposed build of 218 back-to-back townhouse units and a 90-unit, six-storey apartment building,” she said. “There is already a proposed build at the next main corner, Ardagh and Ferndale, involving over 30 townhomes and 50 apartments.

“It seems that once a sign goes up for a proposed build, that it is already a done deal," McQuoid added. 

Kyle Walker said he was concerned with the traffic this project would generate.

“This part of town is already crazy busy with traffic at certain times of the day with three elementary schools and one high school nearby,” said Walker. “The proposed condos and townhouses would bring in way too much traffic for Summerset, which has many children riding bikes and using the parks and fields.”

Shane Hartley, who lives on Penvill Trail, also said he was concerned with the safety of children if this development is built.

And there were also environmental concerns raised during the public meeting.

“The destruction of so many trees on the property is shameful,” said Mike Baumken. “What was once a large forested tract will now be replaced with a solid wall of townhouses or apartments.”

Recent activity to clear hazard trees in this area has sparked interest with area residents about the future development of the property. But this activity was not related to this application. 

“The trees that were cut down were sick and were scheduled to be cut down,” said Coun. Natalie Harris, who represents this part of Barrie. 

The rezoning application includes a number of special provisions.

For the townhouses, the developer wants smaller front-yard setbacks and interior side-yard setbacks, and a smaller parking ratio, in terms of spaces per unit, than bylaws permit. It wants larger gross floor area and a higher building as well.

Also being requested for the apartment building are smaller front- and rear-yard setbacks, smaller landscaped open space, greater lot coverage, gross floor area and building height than bylaws allow. 

A public meeting is one of the first steps in the city’s planning process. This application will now go to planning staff and a report is expected to Barrie councillors this fall. If approved, staff would next need applications for site-plan control and a condominium exemption.

“There should be a mix of housing in this area,” said Trotter, a former city councillor, “but there has been no appreciable change to this application since the neighbourhood meeting of more than a year ago.

“I can see how people are concerned and upset this is a rubber-stamp process," he added. 

And Trotter had some advice for councillors, who will ultimately decide this project’s fate.

“If this is the development we are stuck with… make sure it works.”



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Bob Bruton

About the Author: Bob Bruton

Bob Bruton is a full-time BarrieToday reporter who covers politics and city hall.
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