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City looking for land to improve roads, build sewer and watermains in south end

'That’s how we bring jobs to the community,' says Mayor Jeff Lehman
2018-12-18 McKay Road Hwy 400 RB 6
McKay Road at Highway 400 in Barrie. Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday files

The city is set to begin negotiation and expropriation proceedings to acquire two properties necessary to construct the McKay Road West trunk sanitary sewer and roadway improvements, along with the Veterans Drive trunk watermain projects, in south-Barrie.

Councillors gave initial approval to this action Monday night and city council will consider final approval at its June 28 meeting.

Acquiring these properties  922 and 918 Veterans Dr.  is necessary for construction of the road widening, new trunk sanitary sewer and trunk watermains needed to service the proposed Watersand and H&H developments in the McKay Road West and Veterans Drive area, west of Highway 400.

“The McKay Road servicing, it’s not just about the road; it’s about the pipes underneath and what that does is facilitates construction of some new communities in our Salem area,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman. “But very importantly as well, the employment lands on the highway, at Highway 400 and McKay, which are part of the future employment lands inventory for the city.

“That’s how we bring jobs to the community,” he added. “We know that (the price of) industrial land is going through the roof like many other categories of real estate in Barrie right now and so moving forward with this project, developer-constructed, also helps ultimately bring those lands on stream and for us to be able to offer them to the market as a community and attract employment is very important.”

Expropriation generally means the taking and buying of private land without the consent of its owner, normally by a government wanting to use the property for public benefit, such as building roads, highways, railroads, airports or other infrastructure.

Watersand Construction and Wormwood Developments have proposed accelerating the sanitary sewer and roadway construction of these projects and to front-end their capital costs. These projects are included in Barrie’s 2021-2030 capital plan and sufficient funds have been approved within that plan to buy these properties, with the funding source being developer front-ending.

“This is a developer-led project and so all of the responsibility for that process rests with the developers,” said Andrea Miller, Barrie’s general manager of infrastructure and growth management. “Acquisition of the land necessary for the roadworks would have been their responsibility.”

A real estate appraisal for 922 and 918 Veterans Dr., commissioned by Watersand Construction and Wormwood Developments, estimated the total market value for the two properties to be $2.4 million. 

Watersand, Wormwood and H&H Capital officials have met with the owners of these two properties to present a purchase offer for the land, according to city staff, but to date this process has been unsuccessful.

Therefore, city staff would like to formally begin expropriation proceedings in order to facilitate construction of the infrastructure in an acceptable time.

The city produced various master plans in 2013, which identified the water, sanitary and transportation infrastructure required to support growth in the Hewitt’s and Salem Secondary Plan areas.

The Salem Secondary Plan area, at the southwest corner of McKay Road and Veterans Drive, has approval for a draft plan of subdivision of more than 1,500 residential units.

Watersand Construction has proposed the development of 1,104 single-detached homes, 157 street townhouses, 241 laneway townhouses, one future commercial block, one elementary school, one neighbourhood park, one village square at 229 McKay Rd. W. and 980 Veterans Dr.

Watersand has also proposed the development of 16 employment blocks at 45 McKay Rd. W.