Ontario Construction News staff writer
A temporary homeless shelter is now open at 20 Rose St. in Barrie, after the city issued a final occupancy permit to the County of Simcoe. The location, a former OPP station, has been approved for an affordable housig project I the future.
County staff is now working with the Busby Centre to operate shelter services and arrange for on-site security during operating hours when the shelter opens and periodic site checks during non-operating hours.
“We know the past two years have been extremely difficult for many residents,” said Warden Basil Clarke. “This is a serious issue, and while it is important that this temporary solution is in place, Council and staff are committed to identifying effective and prudent long-term solutions.”
The modular buildings will remain onsite through the winter, but the future plan or the site is a 150-unit building with a mix of one, two and three bedroom units designed as two wings; eight and ten storeys high.
The building also incorporates ground floor and second floor commercial space for a County Social and Community Services office including Ontario Works, Children Services, and Housing offices. Ground floor commercial space may be available for other agencies such as licensed childcare or other compatible social service providers, pending further design details and discussions with community partners.
Pre-development planning approvals, including preliminary and schematic design, are needed to enable a shovel ready development site and determine construction cost estimates for this project.
The 1.9-hectare (4.7 acre) site is in a central location in the built-up urban setting with access to commercial amenities, schools, transit and pedestrian connectivity. It is anticipated that a combination of outdoor parking and an above ground parking structure will be required to accommodate parking requirements for the site.
Based on the preliminary review of the City of Barrie’s Official Plan and Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw, the property is designated and zoned ‘Institutional’. Land use approvals may be required to permit a mixed-use residential building on this site.
Existing aged structures were demolished by the end of 2021 to ensure safety of the community while reducing maintenance costs for an empty building
County staff have initiated the pre-development planning approvals process in 2022, as contained in the draft 2022 County budget. If approved by council, this will enable full design to be completed in 2023 and construction could start in the spring of 2024.