See it to believe it: Rural Ont. town's futuristic development plans
TORONTO -- With a focus on balancing rural living with urban opportunities, a small town north of Toronto is planning to grow into futuristic city beginning with a cutting-edge transit hub.
Earlier this month, the town of Innisfil, Ont. approved a vision for the community that would see the development of a modern multi-use hub called the Orbit with a new GO Transit station at the centre.
“The idea behind the Orbit is to have a cutting-edge, future-ready city within our rural and small town atmosphere so we’ll be bringing benefits of urban living within our current community,” Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin told CTV’s Your Morning on Friday.
The $20-million GO Transit station is set to be built in the middle of town and will connect the community’s approximate 40,000 residents with Toronto.
“But we aren’t just building another cookie-cutter shelter with a parking lot – we know this is an opportunity to provide our community with a real transit hub and much more,” the town states on its website.
According to the plan for The Orbit, created by the architect PARTISANS, the new city will feature four multi-use towers that will be built above the GO Transit station. In addition to the transit hub, the Orbit will include public and private amenities, including farmers markets, pop-up shops, year-round sports and recreational facilities, and arts and cultural spaces with a focus on mobility and walkability.
Dollin stressed that the futuristic development would allow Innisfil to expand while preserving the community’s natural and agricultural lands.
“What we hear from our current residents, is what they want, is they want to keep what they know now,” she said. “They want the rural landscape. They want agriculture. They want local food. They want historic buildings. The beauty of this project is we can absorb and accommodate all of the growth in that urban centre and be able to leave the traditional neighbourhoods the way they are.”
With Innisfil’s population expected to increase exponentially in the coming years, Dollin said they’ve developed this ambitious plan so they can prevent urban sprawl.
“We know we’re going to grow regardless so we want to control the growth,” she explained. “We want to do the growth the way we want it as opposed to having it happen to us.”
The mayor said she expects the town’s population to increase by 30,000 in the “foreseeable future” before eventually burgeoning to nearly 150,000.
As for how the futuristic city will be funded, Dollin said she expects they will be able to receive provincial funding because their plan aligns with the current government’s priorities, such as providing more housing.