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Barrie mayor to make pitch for more land to Oro-Medonte as opposition to plan forms

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Barrie Mayor Alex Nuttall will be making a presentation to a town council on Wednesday that he is not the head of.

On Wednesday, Nuttall will visit Oro-Medonte as part of his recent push to find new lands for employment in Barrie. The Barrie mayor will be bringing his pitch to town council for a change in boundaries, hoping to find a solution that is amicable to both interested parties.

"This is really something I've been talking about since, I would say, May of 2022," Nuttall said to CTV News on Monday. "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."

According to his presentation posted online as part of Oro-Medonte council's agenda, the City of Barrie has its eyes set on 884 hectares of land, mainly to the east and north of the current city boundaries.

Nuttall will be proposing that if the boundary proposal goes into effect, Barrie would service 10 per cent of that land for Oro-Medonte's use so long as the town pays all necessary infrastructure costs. About 10 per cent of tax revenue would return to Oro-Medonte until the employment lands are serviced.

On Monday, Nuttall first made his plan public when the province's Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural policy committee was in town as part of its ongoing review of regional governments across southern Ontario, including Simcoe County.

The mayor says the city has run out of serviceable lands for business, saying it cannot let existing companies expand and cannot welcome new ones either. More than 400 letters of support were provided to the province as part of Nuttall's plan, with many arguing the City will be unable to meet its target of more than 150,000 jobs by 2051.

However, Nuttall is already running into some opposition. In a statement released Tuesday evening, Township of Springwater Mayor Jennifer Coughlin said the City of Barrie has approached the township for a boundary adjustment along its border.

In the statement, Coughlin said that no commitments have been made, and she has some concerns.

"Although disappointed with the recent approach taken by Mayor Nuttall and the City of Barrie, Township of Springwater staff and Council will continue to perform a rigorous evaluation on the proposal to ensure that the interests of Springwater residents are considered and remain the highest priority," Coughlin's statement reads.

Mayor Nuttall's presentation to Oro-Medonte council is scheduled for Wednesday at 2:45 p.m.

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