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Barrie mayor makes case to province for more land for business with support from former mayors

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As it works to continue to address the city's housing affordability crisis, there's a new push by Barrie city council to unlock new business opportunities in the city.

On Monday, Barrie Mayor Alex Nuttall presented to the province's Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy committee to call for more employment lands to be made available in the city.

"Well, we've had a huge amount of growth in the City of Barrie when it comes to residential growth; that continues to happen; as you know, we are constantly approving projects to allow for more housing in the City of Barrie, but we don't have the corresponding industrial land for jobs for folks," Nuttall said to CTV News after the presentation Monday morning.

To help strengthen his point, the mayor brought signed letters of support from all of Barrie's living former mayors, including Janice Laking, Jim Perri, Rob Hamilton, Jeff Lehman, and Dave Aspden.

"The idea that we can continue to grow in terms of population and not have the jobs for people who are living here is just not a sustainable one," Nuttall said.

Nuttall also had approximately 400 letters of support for his calls from local business owners and leaders in the manufacturing sector, including the Chamber of Commerce.

"While the City is making advancements in helping bring commercial and industrial development projects to market, it remains challenged in fulfilling the demands and requirements of prospective investors," reads a draft of the letter of support by the Barrie Chamber of Commerce, posted to its website earlier last week.

In the letter, the chamber points out that without additional serviceable employment lands, the City will struggle to meet its target of more than 150,000 jobs by 2051, saying the current limited supply of land is making it hard for existing businesses to expand and for the City to attract new businesses.

The mayor is hoping more lands will be opened up for employment opportunities north of Barrie. Monday's presentation was part of the province's work to analyze various regional governments across southern Ontario to determine if there is any overlap between regional and local councils.

Opening up more industrial lands was a promise Nuttall made in his successful campaign to become mayor.

"This is really something I've been talking about since I would say May of 2022," said Nuttall. "When you look at where the city has services already in the ground, that's where I want to go; it's cheaper, it's faster, and certainly, we need to work with our neighbours to make sure that that can happen."

 

  

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