The unique status of Tiny Township having the Huronia Regional Airport but not having service settlement areas was key to recommendations being put to the County of Simcoe during the draft land needs assessment feedback component for the regional Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR).
Council carried several recommendations in a memo by MHBC Planning Urban Design & Landscape Architecture, following a presentation by Jamie Robinson of MHBC.
“The key aspect of this correspondence, if I was to put it in a big picture context,” Robinson explained, “is that we’re really trying to make sure the township gets its fair share of growth allocation at the end of the day.”
The Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) will be the official provincial growth plan to carry the county through to 2051, with allocations of an expected 555,000 people and 198,000 jobs spread throughout the 16 lower-tier municipalities. Each municipality is providing feedback on the draft tailored to their individual needs; previously, Tiny was successful in achieving a requested lower density target.
Within the MCR draft land needs assessment (LNA) is a county calculation for population and employment growth allocations, which MHBC noticed had overlooked key elements unique to Tiny.
Of note, over the next 30 years the draft LNA is looking to allocate to Tiny 1% of county population growth allocation and 0.9% of county employment growth allocation until 2051.
However, the current county official plan (OP) for the next 10 years is allocating to Tiny 3% of county population growth allocation and 1.3% of county employment growth allocation unto 2031.
“From a percentage perspective, the county’s proposed to be allocated quite a significant reduction in terms of the growth that’s being allocated to the township,” Robinson noted.
One of the MHBC recommendations is that Tiny request “a full planning rationale and justification for the proposed shift”. Additionally, Tiny “requests a 2% County population allocation” in line with an examination of recent building permit activity in the township at that amount.
The other key element dealt with the Huronia Regional Airport as a “unique asset."
The draft LNA stated a projected increase of 770 jobs but did not allocate any jobs to employment lands in Tiny, and also did not seem to take into consideration the anticipated building out of lands in and around the airport prior to 2051 which would result in a projected increase of 1,058 jobs.
The MHBC memo recommended a request for “full planning rationale for the proposed reduction”, and an increase to the “Township’s employment allocation to recognize these two factors which will see additional employment lands jobs” in 2051.
CAO Robert Lamb also chimed in with statistics provided by Environics, that projected a Tiny population base of 15,036 by 2030, nearly eight years away.
“That’s only (296) off the figure (of 15,330) that’s been allocated to us for 2051”, said Lamb. “There is a real disconnect between what we’ve actually been seeing as growth, as Jamie has talked about, as well as the numbers.”
Coun. Gibb Wishart noted a personal fascination with the property of the airport to develop, adding that if it could be subdivided and sold or leased in lots, “we’d make that a money making exercise.”
Robinson replied that the people preparing the draft LNA might not have been aware of the airport as a “unique asset."
A deadline of December 3 was set for recommendations and comments to be returned for the draft LNA.
The MHBC memo with draft LNA recommendations and comments, in addition to the MCR memo, can be viewed within the council agenda for the meeting located on the Tiny Township website.
Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny Township’s YouTube channel.