Innisfil’s Development, The Orbit, Is Speeding up Plans to Start Building

The Orbit Master-Planned Communities
Source: Town of Innisfil

The Town of Innisfil is known for its agricultural land, and its new residential and commercial developments. In fact, this Town is roughly the same size as the City of Mississauga; the only difference is that Mississauga has almost 800,000 people while Innisfil has approximately 37,000. This means that there is a lot of unused land in Innisfil, which gives this Town the potential and space for growth.

The Orbit Condos, will be part of The Orbit master-planned community coming to Innisfil. It recently received approval by the minister's zoning order (MZO) to speed up this development.

An MZO falls under Section 47 of Ontario's Planning Act, allowing the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to determine how a piece of land will be used in a particular area. Since Ford’s government has come into power, there have been 53 MZO’s issued. Although MZO’s have become the subject of controversy because of their ability to make a ruling without the chance of appeal, these specific orders are used in emergencies or to move forward with major initiatives that benefit the province. These orders can be used to fast-track developments and, in this case, will be used to expedite the construction of Innisfil’s new GO Station.

Innisfil GO Station

The Town of Innisfil supports and promotes The Orbit’s development. This master-planned community will bring thousands of new residents to Innisfil and will combine urban and rural living. The Orbit allows Innisfil to grow into a vibrant community while preserving agricultural lands and protecting the environment, including woodlands and wetlands.

This MZO order is a step in the right direction for the Town, and as Steve Clark, Municipal Affairs Minister stated, The Orbit 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.” For those concerned about the MZO controversy, the Town of Innisfil reassured the public that the construction and completion of the Innisfil GO Station is a high priority for the community and to respond to the construction delays due to the pandemic, the Town requested an MZO from the province to speed up the process.

As a result, construction will commence sometime in early 2022, and the minister's zoning order will “facilitate the construction of much-needed housing and jobs with access to transit, which is of even greater priority during these unprecedented times.” This order will support economic recovery from the pandemic and provide convenient and accessible public transit for its residents.

The Orbit Master-Planned Community

The Orbit will be an innovative master-planned community that will essentially ‘orbit’ around the Innisfil GO Station. It is expected to bring residential development, retail and commercial space, new business, healthcare and green space to the Town.

This new community will increase the population and number of jobs in the area, it also promises to preserve the Town’s natural landscapes by keeping the development in one place. Being known for its agricultural land and access to Lake Simcoe, the Cortel Group, the leading developer on this project, will incorporate large open spaces by adding parks, trails and connectivity to the waterfront. This development could take up approximately 40 million square feet of space and may include a mix of housing types, retail and office space with the possibility of a new school, community centre and hospital.

This development can also be considered a ‘smart’ community that could feature a “fast, secure fibre optic network woven throughout the community’s sidewalks, streets, buildings and more, designed to support innovation from local community members and entrepreneurs while being governed by the appropriate privacy protection policies.” -- As stated in The Orbit Innisfil Brochure.

Aerial View of The Orbit

Based on this information, we know that this town is set for growth, and with this new minister's zoning order, this development can come quicker than expected. This order will speed up the planning process and construction, and the first step is to complete construction on the Innisfil GO Station.

From that initial phase, everything else will be built around that GO Station. For those concerned with living too far from major city centres, the future GO Station will connect to the Barrie Line. It will take commuters to other parts of the GTA, including the City of Vaughan and the City of Toronto, quickly and conveniently. Soon, this area will become a thriving, vibrant community that will combine a small town with the benefits of urban living.