Barrie has been one of Canada’s fastest growing municipalities for several decades now. To manage this growth and to ensure that services and facilities keep pace, the City has set out a vision and strategy for growth management, which includes intensification in the existing built-up area and new greenfield development.
The vision for growth management is being implemented through collaboration and partnership with City departments and outside agencies. The City has established Secondary Plans to guide greenfield development and Master Plans to coordinate infrastructure delivery.
Financial Incentives Available
The Community Improvement Plan provides financial incentives for eligible projects that target key planning and growth management objectives for development within Barrie.
2022 Growth Report
- Land Use
Planning for the future, changes to land use designations to support growth through re-zoning and Official Plan amendments.
- Development Approvals
Units/infrastructure approved for development through subdivisions and site plans.
Shovels in the ground, new infrastructure and units being built.
- Complete Communities
New houses and new residents. It is at this time the City is providing new services.
|1991||62,728||Statistics Canada data|
|2017||147,000||Statistics Canada data|
|2031||210,000||Growth Plan Projection|
|2041||253,000||Growth Plan Projection|
|2051||298,000||Growth Plan Projection|
Ensuring that this level of growth is managed in a sustainable, efficient, and financially responsible manner will be central to the long-term health, prosperity, and well-being of Barrie and its residents. Working within the policy framework provided by the Growth Plan, the City has been preparing an updated Growth Management Strategy. Planning staff have also developed policies and strategies to foster higher-density, mixed-use development in the Urban Growth Centre as well as within important Intensification Nodes and Corridors.
Urban Growth Centre
The Downtown Barrie Urban Growth Centre (as defined by the Province of Ontario in the Growth Plan) consists of the traditional downtown area as well as a significant portion of the historic Allandale neighbourhood. Moving forward, this area will serve as the focal point for higher-density growth and intensification in Barrie.
When it comes to planning and development, “density" refers to the number of people who live and/or work within a given area. The Growth Plan has set a density target for the Downtown Barrie Urban Growth Centre of 150 residents and jobs per hectare, to be achieved by 2031. For an area of approximately 156 hectares, this translates to around 23,408 people living and/or working within the Urban Growth Centre. Growth of this magnitude needs to be managed in a way that:
- remains sensitive to existing neighbourhoods
- responds appropriately to the community's vision and concerns
- ensures that services and infrastructure are provided in an efficient and sustainable manner.
Intensification is the process of increasing the density of an already built-up area. Intensification can involve developing or redeveloping individual properties, extending or adding on to existing buildings, adapting existing buildings for different uses, or creating new buildings and uses on land that isn't currently being used to its full potential (referred to as “infilling"). Intensification can help foster a more active urban environment by making places more “walkable," increase the viability of public transit, and create vibrant public spaces that enhance a feeling of community belonging.
Intensification Area Urban Design Guidelines
In 2012, the City established a set of Urban Design Guidelines specifically directed toward development within Intensification Areas. This document defines different types of intensification areas (such as Mixed-Use Main Streets and Established Neighbourhood Streets) and sets out guidelines for elements such as boulevards and crosswalks, parks and open spaces, public art, and signs, among others.
In addition to the Urban Growth Centre, the City has identified a number of important “nodes" and “corridors" as targets for intensification:
Intensification Nodes are located at significant intersections across Barrie (from Duckworth & Grove in the north end to Mapleview & Yonge in the south)
Corridors correspond to highly travelled routes into the downtown area (for example, Essa Road and Dunlop Street). Like the Urban Growth Centre, these nodes and corridors will serve as focal points for higher-density development.
The City has established new Mixed-Use zoning categories in order to support the combination of various residential and commercial uses within a higher-density urban environment. Mixed-use zoning will help us achieve the density targets set by the Province and will contribute towards a more pedestrian-friendly public realm where residents can take advantage of living, working, shopping, and leisure opportunities within their own neighbourhoods.
The Barrie-Innisfil Boundary Adjustment Act, which came into effect in 2010, extended the City's southern boundary to incorporate 2,293 hectares of land that had previously been located within the Town of Innisfil. This expansion led to the creation of the Salem Secondary Plan and Hewitt’s Secondary Plan, which were completed in December 2016 and incorporated into the City of Barrie Official Plan as sections 8 and 9 respectively.
The Salem Secondary Plan Area has been divided into three “Phases," and the Hewitt's area into four “Phases." Sections 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 of the Official Plan set out a number of requirements that must be met before any development in the Salem and Hewitt's Secondary Plan Areas can proceed. From Phase 2 onward in both areas, development must be approved (either as a draft plan of subdivision or as an approved site plan) on at least 60% of the land in the previous phase before development in the next phase can begin.
As the city continues to grow, many new and existing residents are opting to buy homes in new subdivisions. If you’ve just bought a home in a subdivision, learn about who manages what in the Homeowners and Residents: New Residential Subdivision FAQs (PDF).