Housing and commercial development slated for 33 acres of the Britannia Farm along Hurontario has been indefinitely delayed due to the Province of Ontario taking over the management of the Peel District School Board. The development was painstakingly designed and vetted through several community meetings with Ward 5 residents. It was to be a unique setting with a giant pond/winter outdoor skating rink and destined to use designs and building materials in keeping with the rural theme of the farm. The heritage buildings were to be clusters around the Britannia School House and preserved.
Most importantly, the funds realized by the sale of land for this project were intended to create a massive 167 acre outdoor education centre with trails throughout for public access. In time, this unique project will be completed I’m sure.
City Council recently gave final approval to the rezoning of the 32 acres along Hurontario and Bristol Road for mixed use development. The Peel District School Board Trustees will now decide if the land will be offered for long term lease or for sale. The land prices for large pieces of land like this are climbing, making this parcel worth well over $100 million if sold. A sale would bring more revenue for the relocation of the Heritage Buildings and development of the Outdoor Education Centre.
What type of development should you expect to see on these 32 acres? City Staff can only suggest the number of units and heights of buildings that the property should hold. They are looking at up to four high rise buildings not exceeding 16-20 stories close to Hurontario with boutiques, fruit and bakery markets, restaurants and other shops in the bases of these buildings to animate the LRT stretch.
The city requires that the land facing residences on the south side of Bristol Road should contain units no higher than two or three stories and have put that into the rezoning documents. Finally, I have suggested that because of the uniqueness of the Farm as a whole, it is important to have structures that compliment the 168 acre farm built with natural materials, open spaces and compatibility with the Heritage buildings. Rather than open the property to a bidding contest where the highest bidder is free to load the space with metal and glass, I suggested to Chair Janet McDougald that the Board consider having the price set for the land and then invite proposals which will be judged on design and materials and chosen for their compatibility with their surroundings.
Whatever is decided, it will be done very soon. This has the potential of being one of the most exciting projects in Ontario and it will be happening right here in the Ward 5 community!