Media Release – August 9, 2021
Innisfil, ON – The Province of Ontario announced today that a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) has been made to designate lands on the 6th Line for the Town of Innisfil’s future Orbit transit hub.
The MZO will help expedite the building of Innisfil’s new GO Station, as well as the planning process for the surrounding Orbit – a new, cutting-edge community, centered around the new rail station. Designed to prevent urban sprawl, the Orbit will be sustainable, inclusive, and technologically advanced. This announcement will help the Town of Innisfil get shovels in the ground faster, secure private investment, and support local priorities and economic recovery as the province emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today’s announcement is a good example of how our government is using Minister’s Zoning Orders, in partnership with municipalities, to help get shovels in the ground quickly on important projects that will benefit residents for generations,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This is an exciting community-building project and I am proud to be able to support the Orbit transit hub.”
“Our government is proud to work with our municipal partners to get one step closer to building a new Innisfil GO Station that will provide convenient transit to this growing community – at a lower cost to taxpayers,” said Stan Cho, Associate Minister of Transportation. “Through the Transit-Oriented Communities Program, we are building critical, reliable transit that is connected to vibrant, live-work-play communities that benefit individuals, families and businesses.”
“We are grateful to Minister Clark, Associate Minister Cho, and the Province of Ontario for recognizing how the Orbit transit hub will help Innisfil thrive,” said Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin. “We’re looking forward to working with our partners at Cortel Group to bring this vision of a connected community to life.”
“Innisfil is taking a forward-thinking approach to growth through the Orbit,” said Tim Cane, Orbit Director at the Town of Innisfil. “Today’s announcement is an exciting step forward to building a more resilient, connected and sustainable community.”
The Orbit development supports strategic objectives in the Town’s Innovative Innisfil 2030: Community Strategic Plan, and aligns with provincial initiatives to build transit infrastructure, increase attainable housing supply, and make communities more resilient.
In 2019, Partisans — a Toronto-based architecture studio — was awarded the contract to create the vision for the Orbit. The lead developer for the area, Cortel Group, has decided to move forward with the ambitious vision that will see the new Transit Hub and Orbit community built around the area of 6th Line and Metrolinx Rail line. This new Innisfil Transit Hub and surrounding residential, employment and community uses will incorporate the design principles of sustainability, placemaking and culture, technology, and economics.
Leading up to the release of the draft MZO, a number of steps and stakeholder meetings took place, including: a resident survey in 2019, station design team meetings, collaboration with the Province, County of Simcoe and Metrolinx, engagement with the resident focus group, and a Council Workshop in May 2020.
Council endorsed the draft MZO, which was submitted to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) for his consideration in November 2020.
The MZO includes guidelines for how the land immediately surrounding the transit station (i.e., land within 425 metres of the proposed GO station) can be used, including for spaces like retail, business, residential, affordable housing, recreation and more, as well as protection of key environmental features, including woodlands and wetlands. The lands outside of this area will be addressed in the future through a Secondary Plan, where the Town will once again look for input from the community later this year.