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New developments on the agenda at Barrie city hall

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With the budget now passed, city councillors are focusing in the coming months on bringing new developments to the city.

During Wednesday's general committee meeting, councillors gave initial consent to numerous proposals that would collectively bring hundreds of new housing options to the city.

One is for a development near the city's library along Sophia, McDonald and Clapperton Streets. Tonight councillors gave approval for a zoning change required for the project, which would create a 21-storey 252-unit tower.

A 16-storey 475-unit residential tower project in the heart of the city's Park Place complex is also moving ahead. The mayor says high-density projects like this are what the city needs.

"When we don't have to build new infrastructure to facilitate that growth, it's a win economically for the City of Barrie," says Mayor Alex Nuttall. "The taxation on these new buildings will be quite substantial, and it's not affecting any residential homes around it."

There was also an initial discussion for a proposal along Lockhart Rd, the area formerly known as the annexed lands from Innisfil. This would bring 467 new residences, mostly homes and townhomes, 10 municipal streets and a new elementary and high school.

The discussion centred on safety concerns during Wednesday's meeting, ensuring the newly created roads aren't overly wide. Multiple councillors brought forward concerns these types of roads lead to safety concerns.

The mayor says safety considerations with such a major new development are paramount.

"One of the frustrations around the City of Barrie that I've heard and I certainly feel when I drop my kids off at school is the lack of Kiss and Rides or laneways to give kids a safe drop off at their local schools," says Nuttall. "These are the types of considerations that we need to make sure as we're planning out those new neighbourhoods that they are incorporated.

Councillors also voted to tap into the Municipal Accommodation Tax to provide the BIA with $30,000 to rerun the Open Air Dunlop program. The BIA plans to close down portions of Dunlop Street on 10 Saturdays.

"In terms of the Open Air Dunlop and the opportunities for people to come down, enjoy themselves and shop," says Nuttall. "I think these are great things with great opportunities to attract people to downtown to show them the shops that we have and the restaurants and the opportunities."

Councillors also supported a bylaw that would bring fines of up to $1000 for homeowners who neglect their properties with things like overgrown grass.

"I think that anything we can do to try to encourage folks to keep their property under control, to keep their grass under control and to respect the neighbours around them, I think is a very good thing," says Nuttall. 

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