Barrie’s south end is growing up, up to six storeys near the Barrie South GO station.
City councillors gave a green light to a Barrie Heritage Developments plan to add 1,326 units and 2,787 square metres (30,000 square feet) of commercial space on lands abutting the station and fronting on Yonge Street.
“We have had applications in their area for considerably higher buildings, (from) applicants that jammed more units on a smaller site. This is a very thoughtfully designed community with a public square and open space,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman.
“For a relatively high density community, it’s setting a good precedent.”
Barrie Heritage is proposing an array of housing styles, ranging from street townhouses to stacked townhouses to six-storey apartments. Street townhomes will be freehold, while stacked townhomes and apartments will be condominiums.
Barrie’s rules allow for eight storeys, if a building located in an intensification area has ground-floor commercial. Barrie Heritage, however, is planning only for six.
“The Number 1 issue I heard about this is height,” Lehman acknowledged as he spoke to the neighbours in the gallery.
The development plan includes a block plan for the homes with a road grid and a series of open spaces and parks. It would also enable the city to expand Painswick Park to the north.
Across the railway tracks near Poplar Avenue, there will be a stormwater management pond and a passive park with walking trails.
Ward 10 Coun. Mike McCann acknowledged neighbours’ opposition.
“I understand that zero development is what most of you would like, but obviously that’s not going to happen,” he said, noting the province has a growth plan that calls for higher-density development to locate near transit stations.
Richard Forward, Barrie’s infrastructure and growth management general manager, added Metrolinx is looking at adding pedestrian access tunnels.
McCann said there will be no road links into the Pine Drive and Poplar Drive areas. “That is a real win,” he told them.
Final approval is scheduled for June 5.