Where might intensification occur?
To accommodate the forecasted levels of growth within municipal boundaries, the Ministry of Infrastructure has devised growth targets that focus on the intensification of existing lands within municipalities. Areas supportive of intensification are defined in Places to Grow as:
“Lands identified by municipalities or the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal (Now known as the Ministry of Infrastructure) within a settlement area that are to be the focus for accommodating intensification. Intensification areas include urban growth centres, intensification corridors, major transit station areas, and other major opportunities that may include infill, redevelopment, brownfield sites, the expansion or conversion of existing buildings and greyfields”.
The designated growth areas are intended to provide municipalities with a framework to encourage compact urban forms and promote complete communities as defined in the document.
Official Plan Amendment #125 Schedule B (the study area) identifies and designated the following Growth Areas in accordance with Places to Grow:
- Urban Growth Centre (Downtown Area);
- Intensification Corridor’s;
- Built Boundary; and
- Greenfield Areas.
Other areas which may be supportive of intensification in the City are brownfield sites, greyfield sites, regeneration areas, and major transit stations (Downtown and Lynden Park Mall). Also it is important to note that Wilfrid Laurier University has heightened its presence on the downtown landscape since establishing its first building in 1999. It is projected that by 2023 Laurier will have a total full time student population of 15,000. This population will require a total of 5,250 beds resulting in a need for 4,917 additional beds to accommodate the projected growth of the student population. Student housing in the Downtown Area will play a major role in the intensification process of the Downtown.