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'Big change' coming to Craighurst with expanding housing project

Located on Horseshoe Valley Road, Craighurst Crossing development will include more than 500 homes
The developers of Craighurst Crossing have announced they will add an additional 130 housing units to the development.

When Kathryn Bowman took up residence near Craighurst five years ago, the crossroads community just north of Barrie had about 300 residents.

From the steps of Dwellings, her home decorating and gift store on Horseshoe Valley Road, west of the intersection, Bowman can look east down the road and see the sales centre for Craighurst Crossing, a development of 400 housing units, north of Horseshoe Valley Road and east of Penetanguishene Road.

When the project is complete, Craighurst Crossing will have more housing units than Craighurst had people when Bowman moved there. 

“It’s a big change, there’s no doubt about that,” Bowman said. “But we have to work through these things.”

She said she’s fully supportive of the developer — “they’re very community oriented” — and so far, she’s thrilled with what she sees.

Craighurst resident and business owner Kathryn Bowman and her dog Lucy welcome new residents who will be moving into homes located in the Craighurst Crossing subdivision. | Wayne Doyle/BarrieToday

“Personally, I feel very happy this development is going forward,” Bowman said. “I think this is a beautiful area to live in and it has so many recreational, year-round opportunities.”

Bowman says she’s no fan of NIMBY-ism — or, not in my backyard — and welcomes new residents to the area.

“I love it here, so why wouldn’t I want to invite others to enjoy it also?"

Admittedly, she’s also pretty happy to have an entire subdivision of potential customers just down the street.

In the not-too-distant future, she’ll have potential new customers all around her.

Jay Beech, vice-president of development for Georgian Communities, the developer behind Craighurst Crossing, provided an update on the project at the last Oro-Medonte Township council meeting.

Beech noted a number of milestones that the company is working toward achieving in 2024, including conditional building permits in August — hydro, gas and cable installation by mid-September, completion of the wastewater treatment facility by Oct. 1, and streetlight ‘energization’ by Nov. 1.

He also announced the developer has successfully purchased additional land on the periphery of Craighurst and plans to build another 130 housing units, bringing the total complement to 530.

“The style of our communities is what we call a rural lifestyle,” Beech said. “We’re not condensing the properties, they average 50-foot lots for single-family detached homes. 

“We target settlement areas in small rural communities and we’re proud to be builders of small-town Canada,“ he added.

Beech said the company has sold 41 of the available 58 units in phase one.

“I would say local reputation has driven results,” Beech said. “We continue to have weekly sales and the market is picking up.”

Chris Williams, who lives north of the village, has been watching Craighurst Crossing take shape for quite some time.

Neither a supporter nor a critic, he said his biggest concern with these types of developments is they’re being decided by folks who aren’t experts in land planning.

Williams acknowledged townships have planners, but added councils don’t always take the advice they’re given.

He thinks most township councillors may be ill-prepared to make proper long-term planning decisions, through no fault of their own.

“To ask a councillor, who last year may have been a farmer, to review a 600-page consultant’s report and understand it, is a lot to ask,” Williams said. “I don’t think most people understand the complexity and the size of these developments and the impacts they have.

“Protection of agricultural land and water resources have to extend beyond the lifespan of a four-year government. You have to have strategic plans that are not corruptible by a quick buck,” he added.

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Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Wayne Doyle covers the townships of Springwater, Oro-Medonte and Essa for BarrieToday under the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI), which is funded by the Government of Canada
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