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Barrie councillors look to expedite approval of new long-term care facility

After not meeting for about two months, Barrie councillors hit the ground running Wednesday evening, moving ahead with a plan that hopes to be a game changer for seniors.

On Wednesday, councillors held their first and potentially only summer meeting. Ward 9 councillor Sergio Morales and Mayor Alex Nuttall brought forth a motion to expedite the approval process of a new long-term care facility and retirement home in the City's expanding southeast end.

"There's a long-term care bed shortage in Barrie and in the province, and we have an opportunity to use a zoning tool to cut red tape, to streamline the process for which shovels get in the ground and to provide hundreds of beds and a critical infrastructure that our city has been needing for over a decade," Morales said to CTV News.

The motion is calling on city staff to file a Community Infrastructure Housing Accelerator (CIHA) application by September. Morales says standard rezoning and background studies will still be conducted, but other approval aspects will be expedited as the project meets the City's strategic plan and falls in line with provincial priorities.

"We want to create a Barrie where those seniors that help shape the city where they are have the option to age in place, age in Barrie and age where there's resources if there's a health challenge they have later in life," Morales said.

A long-term care operator Morales referred to as a leader in the sector, has expressed to the City that it is ready to move forward quickly with approved provincial funding.

The mayor says the project will help address the affordability crisis many residents are facing, saying many of the units in the long-term care facility will be affordable.

"It's a priority, and so we need to move faster than even we're capable of, so we're bringing in the province to help pave the way to make sure that these beds do get here, they do get built, and they are operational for our citizenry," Nuttall told CTV News.

While it is preliminary for an accurate timeline, the mayor says the project could get final approval within months, which would position it to be ready for construction sometime in 2024. Top Stories

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