Location and Description
Geranium Corporation is proposing a large-scale development that would urbanize the lands between the existing town of Bradford, designated employment lands flanking Highway 400 and the existing small community of Bond Head in Bradford West Gwillimbury. The proposal aims to knit together the existing towns with the employment area to form a "cohesive, comprehensively planned community" of 114,000 people.57 The Planning Area covers 2,500 hectares and at full build-out is projected to house 55,000 jobs (see Map 7).
Initially, Geranium Corporation proposed a development that would expand the settlement area of Bond Head to accommodate 50,000 people. This original proposal spanned the land between the existing Bond Head settlement area and the Highway 400/88 Special Policy Area. That application was submitted in August 2003.
In response, the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury asked the proponent to account for the small area, only two concessions wide, that lies between the proposed Bond Head expansion and the existing Bradford urban area. The Town sought to clarify whether the proponent envisioned this land becoming urbanized or taking on another use such as a permanent agricultural buffer.
Geranium Corporation returned in December 2003 with a proposal to urbanize the lands between Bond Head and Bradford to accommodate approximately 114,000 people. Geranium Corporation notes that it took on this new planning role reluctantly and only in response to the Town's request for a revision of the initial application.58 Specific land uses within this Bradford Bond Head Planning Area would be determined through secondary plans, which the developer hoped to initiate in early 2004.59
Geranium's development strategy for the Bradford Bond Head Planning Area claims to follow provincial land use planning goals, including compact urban form and the efficient use of infrastructure. The developer argues that the planning area is ideally located to accept some of the Toronto region's population growth, as it lies just outside the protected areas of the Oak Ridges Moraine and Holland Marsh and close to proposed extensions of 400-series highways. Although the Official Plan Amendment application stresses the site's proximity to proposed highway extensions, the proponent insists that the project would be viable even if these extensions were not approved, because it is close to Highway 400.
The proponent describes the site configuration as ideal for supporting intra-city bus transit and for attracting jobs. The developer proposes a "jobs-led" growth strategy that would see the community expand in step with local employment growth to ensure a mix of uses and minimize commuting.
The original Bond Head expansion proposal called for a Servicing Master Plan in collaboration with the Town to "explore water and sewer servicing solutions for both the Bradford and Bond Head areas."60 The revised submission to the Town notes that this study -- and others -- are under way and will now account for the expanded area of proposed development.
The Towns of Innisfil and Bradford West Gwillimbury have signed an agreement to construct a new water pipeline from the Alcona treatment plant to Bradford via Lefroy and Gilford to service lands identified in Bradford West Gwillimbury's Official Plan.61 The volume will not, however, be sufficient to service the Bradford Bond Head Planning Area.
The proposed development area drains into both the Lake Simcoe and the Nottawasaga watersheds. The sewer servicing scheme is not yet laid out in detail but depends on the incremental expansion of the Bradford Wastewater Treatment Plant to accommodate the growing population. Studies are proposed that would address the issue of phosphorous loading in Lake Simcoe and the Nottawasaga River.62 The proponent is confident that improved wastewater treatment technologies will allow the area to accommodate the proposed development.63
In February 2004, consultants for the developer produced a "Regional Context Overview" report.64 This report makes the case for the development of the Bradford Bond Head Planning Area on the grounds of existing and potential water and highway infrastructure capacity, compatibility with provincial and local policy, and the inability of the GTA to accommodate projected population growth. The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury is reviewing the revised Official Plan Amendment application.