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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Lefroy residents turn up the heat at public meeting

Lefroy residents turn up the heat at public meeting


In a heated public meeting Wednesday night, representatives from LSAMI (Lefroy Settlement Area Management Inc) and LBEMI (Lefroy Belle Ewart Management Inc) stated their intentions for the Lefroy area to 180 residents at the Lefroy Arena.

About 20 residents took to the microphone, most stating they like Lefroy the way it was, after the two sides made their case.

The evening began with Paul Lowes, of Sorenson Gravely Lowes Planning Associates, giving those in attendance an overview of the Lefroy Secondary Plan. Upon reviewing the course of events leading up to the public meeting, including the designation of the Lefroy Settlement Area (LSA) in 1993 in the Official Plan (OP), the Secondary Plan submissions by LBEMI in October 2004 and LSAMI's application in February 2005, Lowes stated both have submitted their plans to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

"We have to determine what has to be protected and where development should occur," he said.

Lowes stated some issues to be considered are neighbourhood connectivity, size and location of parks, viability of commercial designation, community services, transportation studies, servicing issues, and hydro geological analysis.

Representing LSAMI, Marvin Geist stated LSAMI owned approximately 92% of vacant developable lands within the approved settlement

area of Lefroy. The LSAMI area includes lands between the 5th Line and halfway between the 4th and the 3rd between the 20th Sideroad to the lands east of Ferrier Avenue.

"The decision for development and growth has already been made for this area and approved by the Province, the County, and the Town of Innisfil," said Geist.

Citing Section 5.14 of land use policies of the OP, Geist said the plan anticipates an increase of approximately

5,945 people within the boundaries of the LSA and his plan reflects that.

In regards to the Carson Drain, Geist said the LSAMI group would not be increasing the risk for flooding, but decreasing the risk at no cost to people downstream.

"We are improving a situation that has an existing problem," said Geist. He stated storm water management facilities proposed through oversized ponds are being developed for storm water quality and quantity purposes, with phosphorus water recharge, offering residents a greater level of protection.

Geist said the LSAMI plan would bring water infrastructure to the community, protect the area from potential floods, create employment opportunities with a rejuvenated main street, provide open space and recreational trails, and a GO station. He also stated his plan conforms with the Provincial Policy Statement, Places to Grow Act, IGAP,

County of Simcoe OP, and the Town of Innisfil's OP. Urban Designer for LSAMI, Silvano Tardella of Nak Design Group said he see's Killarney Beach Road at a vibrant Main Street. "With benches and decorative lighting, we will make it a vibrant area of the community." Tardella also stated there should be two gateways anchoring Killarney Beach Road; one to the West, welcoming people to the area, and a more historical type gateway to the east. "We believe we can build upon what you have to make a village."

Representing LBEMI, Don Given said there has to be a bigger vision for what's going to happen to Lefroy. The LBEMI plan would see a population of 20,000 - 25,000. "Our concern is how the whole community will grow," he said. "We have to have an understanding of how big this community is going to be."

Referring to the themes stated during to the Public Visioning Workshops, Given outlined how the LBEMI plan coincides with those themes. He said there would be controlled development along the waterfront, maintained and improved water quality, community character and diversity, transit access and quality accommodations. The plan anticipates three new elementary and one new high school.

"We have seven parks planned and anticipate a fire hall would be needed on the west side of the 20th," Given said. He added a community

centre would be needed and a mixed use village centre as well. "We think this community has never had a downtown. We want to do it with high quality urban design."

The LBEMI plan would include a water tower on the west side of the 20th, a by pass of the 6th Line and a 'grand GO Station'. The plan includes 2500 jobs on the east side of the 20th, a health centre, retail opportunities, offices, and tourism and recreation jobs. Given said fifty per cent of the homes built in the LBEMI plan would be fifty foot lots. The medium density housing would be focused in the core of the community.

After the presentations were made, almost twenty residents took their turn at the microphone, most not happy with what they had heard.

John Pugsley of VOCALS (Voices of Concern About Lake Simcoe) stated his group opposed any development that would affect the Lake. "Building thousands of homes is not Smart Planning," he said. "We are demanding a made in Innisfil plan, not a design in Toronto plan."

Geist replied by stating there is protected green space in the LSAMI plan. "The ambition you want for this community is based on the LSAMI plan."

Given said from day one, the LBEMI plan was to put their environmental needs first.

Resident George Munchaw, also of VOCALS, stated Innisfil's environmental land marks would suffer.

"Safe clean drinking water should be on the top of our agenda," he said. "The Town should direct development away from the Lake Simcoe area and direct services to the 400 area. The Town should build outward from Innisfil Beach Road."

Teresa Moniger stated no one had addressed the major past times of those in the Lefroy area; ATV's and snow mobiles.

Given said the types of trails in the LBEMI plan were for pedestrians to walk, cycle, cross country ski and hike. Geist said LSAMI is in discussions with Parks and Rec regarding ATV's.

A resident who moved from Toronto to Lefroy stated the residents should respect the fact that people they don't know are making an investment in their community. "In the end, you have to remember it's their property, not ours," he said.

Resident Jim Roberts told Geist and Given they are planning for too many people too fast.

"We don't need the type of development you guys are talking about right now," he said. "A lot of people coming here are going to be nomads...stay here for a bit and leave. That's not community. You're going to build houses, not a community. You are going to build Town we're not going to want to live in."

The LBEMI Open House will be at the Churchill Community Centre on Tuesday, May 30 from 4:00 - 9:00 p.m. The LSAMI OMB pre-hearing is schedule for July 5th - 7th at the Holiday Inn in Barrie.

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