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Both sides seek changes to boundary adjustment

By Ian McInroy, Barrie Examiner

Eight weeks and counting. The transfer of land from Innisfil to Barrie will be one step closer after tomorrow.

The Ontario standing committee on justice policy will be holding hearings on Thursday at the Simcoe County Museum for the proposed Barrie-Innisfil Boundary Adjustment Act (Bill 196).

The act has passed second reading in the provincial legislature and the hearings are required before third and final reading, and before the act becomes law on Jan. 1, 2010.

When passed, 5,664 acres of Innisfil land -- including almost 200 homes and 40 farms on mostly rural and agricultural land -- will be transferred to Barrie.

Standing committee members will hear from two residents, representatives for Innisfil and Barrie, as well as Oro-Medonte and Tay townships, the County of Simcoe, a landowner's group, the Simcoe County Heavy Construction Association and the Ontario Home Builders' Association.

Innisfil Mayor Brian Jackson said the town wants to let the standing committee know how it feels about the Barrie-Innisfil Boundary Adjustment Act.

"The town will be making a presentation concerning some of the outstanding issues we've had with Bill 196 and our relationship with the City of Barrie," he said yesterday. "We're looking at the ramifications of that bill and the impact it will have on our municipality."

Barrie Coun. Jeff Lehman, chairman of the growth management working group, said the city wants to minimize transition pains for Innisfil residents becoming Barrie residents.

"We would like to see a few minor changes that will make the transition easier," he said, adding city staff have been working with their counterparts.

"They are preparing a series of agreements on service provisions to the annexation area such as fire protection, road maintenance and snow plowing, etc.," he said. "We are expecting the transition agreement to be brought forward to council within the next couple of weeks."

Once Bill 196 has received third reading, the city will be communicating to all affected property owners, Lehman said.

The standing committee meeting begins at 10 a. m. in meeting rooms A and B at the Simcoe County Museum, on Highway 26 north of Barrie.

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