Town of Wasaga Beach Planning Update: What Lies Ahead
We recently attended the annual Panel of Planners session, which is an opportunity for us to interact with municipal staff and planners about local planning initiatives and developments. Planners or staff attended from the Municipalities of Clearview, Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, The Blue Mountains, Meaford and Grey Highlands. We will give you a synopsis of each area over the next few weeks.
Today, we are summarizing the presentation made by Nick Ainley of the Town of Wasaga Beach.
- Wasaga Beach grew 172% during the period 1991 – 2011, which was 3 times the rate of Simcoe County
- 2011-2014 saw growth of 8% – which averages out to 2.6% annually, so the growth rate is slowing; growth is projected at 2-3% per annum over next 20 years.
- 29.1% of the population is over 65, and 46.6% is over 55 – aging population
- They have received bronze designations for walk and bike friendly areas
- Accessory Apartments: Secondary units are now permitted, subject to certain criteria, as the Zoning Bylaw and Official Plan Amendments are now complete. Click here to view Wasaga Beach’s citizen’s guide to second dwelling units.
- Focus is on medium density and mixed use development
- Currently there are 64 projects in development –click here to see the development map or see below.
- Of note: DAS development: 353,000 sq.ft. mall at new Highway 26 and could be the site for a casino. Casino: RFPQ (Request for Pre-Qualification) currently being assessed – next step will be RFP (Request for Proposals) – probably in 2016.
The Town website holds a wealth of information for the public (zoning bylaw, official plan information, housing information) – it just takes a little perseverance to find where on their website to look. Below is a map of Active Development within the town.My opinion is that Wasaga Beach experienced unprecedented growth in the pre-2011 era, however, that has now settled down into a more manageable growth pattern, mainly in the over 55 age group. The casino is years in the offing, if in fact Wasaga Beach is chosen as a site for one, and hopefully the amount of jobs it creates will offset any of the associated social problems and costs to the community. Wasaga Beach has worked hard to overcome the ‘party town’ image over the past decade and it would be a shame to see that effort go to waste. The redevelopment of the tourist destination known as Beach Areas 1 and 2, including pedestrian bridges and promenades, an amphitheatre, continuous boardwalk and festival square, will undoubtedly breathe some much needed new life back into the area, after fire destroyed a good portion of the area in 2007. With continued careful planning for these envisioned projects, my bet is on this community for continued stable growth with a revitalized main end.
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