Downtown Policy Amendments

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The Town continues to implement the Downtown Development Master Plan by focusing redevelopment efforts on land in the Beach One area.

In order to support these efforts, Council has initiated amendments to the planning policy framework that align with the Beach One Redevelopment initiative, Request for Proposals for development partners, and the road improvements recommended in the Main Street and Beach Areas One and Two Municipal Class Environmental Assessment.


The proposed amendment would make modifications to Official Plan policies for Downtown Wasaga Beach that increase flexibility in how the Beach One component is developed, and various

The Town continues to implement the Downtown Development Master Plan by focusing redevelopment efforts on land in the Beach One area.

In order to support these efforts, Council has initiated amendments to the planning policy framework that align with the Beach One Redevelopment initiative, Request for Proposals for development partners, and the road improvements recommended in the Main Street and Beach Areas One and Two Municipal Class Environmental Assessment.


The proposed amendment would make modifications to Official Plan policies for Downtown Wasaga Beach that increase flexibility in how the Beach One component is developed, and various other matters as follows:

  • Increase flexibility by softening policy language relating to a variety of matters including public investment in facilities and roads/infrastructure, urban design guidelines, and roundabouts;
  • Define road design and road width (20 metres) for Beach Drive and Spruce Street that is in alignment with the Environmental Assessment process;
  • Enhance pedestrian streets and connections policies for Beach Drive, 1st Street North and 2nd Street North, and potential pedestrian overpass;
  • Soften language with respect to urban design guidelines while maintaining general conformity with them;
  • Increase flexibility in policies for Beach Area One relating to residential uses at-grade on side streets, parking, and location and development standards for Festival Square; and
  • Clarify public open space and Festival/Town Square policies for height and density bonusing contributions and land acquisition/assembly.

These changes support the Beach One Redevelopment initiative, implement the recommendations of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process for Downtown transportation improvements, and increase flexibility by softening policy language for various matters.

The land use designations and policies for Downtown Wasaga Beach that were put in place by Official Plan Amendment No. 52 (2018) remain substantially the same, with no changes in mapping. The supporting materials contain a red-lined version of OPA 52 (to illustrate proposed changes only), and a technical by-law that would be passed by Council to bring the proposed changes into effect, which can be reviewed here.


The proposed amendment would:

  • Change the zoning of specific lands at Beach Area One that are currently zoned Beach Transition Holding (B2H) Zone to the Beach Mixed-Use Holding (B1H) Zone. This change would apply to the lands located between 3rd Street North and the Playland Parking Lot, and between Beach Drive and Mosley Street.
  • Permit a Take Out Restaurant use in the B1 Zone.

These changes would ensure that a consistent B1H Zone apply to all lands within the Beach One Redevelopment Area, which allows a greater range of permitted uses and development opportunity (maximum building height of six storeys) than the B2H zone. The Zoning By-law Amendment can be found here.


The proposed amendment to the Downtown Community Improvement Plan would:

  • Expand the “Priority Investment Area” to contain additional Beach Area One lands, adding the lands from Playland Parking Lot to 3rd Street between Beach Drive and Mosley Street; and
  • Soften the language so that proposed development conforms to the general intent of the Downtown Urban Design Guidelines and the goals, objectives and intent of the Downtown Development Master Plan (DDMP).

The Downtown Community Improvement Plan (2017) remains substantially the same, with more Beach One lands added to the “Priority Investment Area”, and softened language. These changes would align with the Zoning By-law changes by allowing more properties in the Beach One Redevelopment area to be eligible for incentives under the Community Improvement Plan, and provide more flexibility in the eligibility criteria for development proposals to meet the general intent of the guiding documents.

The supporting materials contain a red-lined version of the Downtown Community Improvement Plan (to illustrate proposed changes only), and a technical by-law that would be passed by Council to bring the proposed changes into effect, which can be reviewed here.

If you would like more general information on the Downtown Community Improvement Plan, please visit the Town's website by clicking here to read the Frequently Asked Questions.

For more detail and information on the proposed amendments, please review the 'Proposed Amendments for Public Review' to the right-hand side of this page. The Highlights and Staff Report under 'Relevant Documents' also provide helpful information on the proposed amendments.

Provide Comment on Proposed Policy Changes

UPDATE: The review of comments and feedback is complete. On April 8, 2021, Coordinated Committee of Council made the decision to approve the proposed amendments.  Click here to read the staff report.   Council gave final approval at it's meeting on April 27, 2021. Please review the approved amendments on the right hand side of this page. A formal notice and an appeal period in accordance with the Planning Act is followed. 


Your comments and thoughts were considered when reporting back to Council on the proposed policy amendments. A virtual Public Meeting took place on March 2, 2021. Watch the Public Meeting here.

Please review the 'Proposed Amendments for Public Review' on the right-hand-side of this page for more details, or click here

Click here to view the Presentation Slide Deck from the Virtual Public Meeting on March 2, 2021.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded. Thank you for your feedback on the proposed amendments. The Town will consider the comments received in the decision-making process for the proposed amendments.

Beach 1 and Beach Drive is the heart of our Town. Whatever development is proposed or planned there needs to be community based. Any development needs to be carefully examined to ensure continued full public access to the area. Cruising or biking along the strip has always been a daily “must do”. The ambiance of walking along the strip, especially in the peak of summer is second to none. It would be great to see some tourism development, but not interested in seeing condos all along Beach 1. It would be like taking the sidewalk away from the Falls in Niagara.

Icare about 3 years ago

Definitely in favour of developing the Beach and Main Street areas. The excessive run down motels/“cottages” bring a seedy element to our town and attract transients in the off season. Larger hotels with amenities, i.e. indoor water parks, shuttles to local ski resorts in the winter, restaurants, etc. would make our town a destination for middle to upper socioeconomic families. The removal of the Beach 1 road was a great idea. A pedestrian area is far more appealing to most instead of the loud, obnoxious engines. This would allow more vendors as well. Wasaga Beach COULD be a Canadian Myrtle Beach if we look ahead and make investments now. Thank you for the hard work. Go Wasaga Beach!!!

Scott1 about 3 years ago

Several things wrong with this whole "plan":
1.The picture shown is the same that was produced for the FRAM development....which Mayor and Council cancelled.
2. The vagueness of the changes provides little or no comfort as to just what will be developed in our prime beachfront.
3. Since the RFP made it clear that the development ideas need to come from the developers we are being asked as taxpayers to support changes to the Official Plan without any idea of what it's supposed to look like.
4. If the Town can't even give us a current artist's impression of what it would like how are we as taxpayers supposed to have any input or comments?
5. It seems that Town has no idea what it wants and is ignoring all the great work completed by the previous Council and the genuine public engagement sessions held.
6. There is no Plan as far as I can tell....just like the visions on the shelf from previous Councils of old. We should be a prime tourist attraction yet neglect has been the key issue for many, many years. Such a shame and embarrassment.

WasagaFan over 3 years ago

When at one time the normal ceiling height was eight feet, and now 10 to 12 foot ceilings are popular, then, this would add a minimum of eight feet to a four story building (min two add'l feet per floor), essentially making the building five stories. When built out to the sidewalk, this would look huge on the Mosley St. side, especially when compared to existing buildings in the area.

susan82 over 3 years ago

I am pro developing the Beachfront, however I have several concerns: #1 How can anyone vote on a plan that is too vague in scope and we don't have a clear picture of what the official master plan is #2 The photos shown I believe are of a former plan that is not being adopted, therefore misleading and #3 the prescriptive language is far too vague and will allow developers to take advantage of the loopholes inherent in this.
It is interesting that this council's 2018 campaign ran on not building condos on the beach and yet it now looks like that is exactly what is being planned....

macdoan over 3 years ago

When people were not happy with the previous council's plans to see condominiums constructed at Beach Area 2, why is part of Beach Area 2 being rezoned to be part of Beach Area 1, and, the building height being increased, to allow up to 6 stories? It's well known that developers will (if at all possible) build to the allowed maximum, to ensure the most profit.

susan82 over 3 years ago

2 comments at very high level, but on two critical components:
- Six storey buildings (meaning 60 to 90 feet tall) should not be allowed on Beach drive/Beach Area 1 (neither on Beach area 2 for that matter), a maximum of 4 storey as initial zoning should be a maximum (40 feet tall).
- Offering more flexibility to developers is a mistake as it means the Town will lose control and developers will take advantage of it

GDusastre over 3 years ago

Please keep Beach one a public beach. Bring back the automobile access to Beach Drive. Change will come but residential development does not belong on a town owned public beach! Commercial development; such as a small hotel not a tower and more retail spaces in good working order. More restaurants and green space. Also a venue for live music. Residents and tourists must be able to access all of Beach 1 without parking long distances away! Please save our beaches!!!!!

artie2x4 over 3 years ago

It's good that Festival Square will have a wide view to the water. I believe 6 storey buildings at Blue Mountain Village don't appear huge, because mountains are the backdrop, however, a continuous 6 storey wall of buildings on the Mosley St. side will look massive. When we want to retain our small town charm, I'm not sure that an Urban Design is best, with buildings built out to the sidewalk on Mosley St., and Main St for that matter. A good example of appropriate architecture is 563 River Rd W. It's good that a Community Hub is still planned for the downtown. A Connection Point for the LYNX service would be good in the downtown, instead of traveling from the east end of town to the west end to get the LYNX bus to Barrie. The Arena transit stop is not a reasonable walking distance from New England Village and the Elm Development, especially since we are required to walk up the side of HWY #92.

susan82 over 3 years ago

QUITE dismayed that, as a likely, and even possibly necessary, acquiescence to developers, a lot (too many, IMHO) of "shall" be's in the initial document, have become "may" or "might" be's. This, again IMHO, significantly softens the vision for the Town's "going forward" strategy.
While I completely understand, and support, that development is absolutely necessary, I KNOW that developers ONLY develop to make significant profits. Therefore, I fear that the Town and its citizens could lose vital control over its widely varied lifestyle and important economic diversity, which can/will(?) result in a further fiscal stratification of the Town - far more high income, far less low income, and a greatly diminished middle strata - the place where new, young families tend to reside.
IMHO, there must be a studious balance of those economic strata; the Town will lose its "soul" should we, however inadvertently, evolve into a wealthy property owners' retreat. PLUS irregular visitors, and "townies".
Our long-term future, IMHO again, lies with achieving a possibly very difficult balance between full-time residents, seasonal occupiers, short-term visitors, and day-trippers.

RTD8450 over 3 years ago

Hopefully the environmental assessment of plans for Beach 1 will include looking at other waterfront municipalities like Sauble Beach, Virginia Beach, Daytona Beach and many others where a boardwalk is an integral part of what attracts people to the beach.
When looking at businesses in the Downtown core, they should include those that can survive four seasons not just for tourists. The challenge, then, is to convince the full time residents to use these facilities so we can become a real town instead of a vacation spot.

newbie718 over 3 years ago

Is this the actual plan , the picture above?, if so.
No way!
Thumbs down!
Need more buildings where the first floor is elevated to the second floor with walkways and shops, local vendors, local art, to be shown off with speakers playing the local radio station with the eaters breeze wafting past you.
Everyone should be able to enjoy such the beauty that Wasaga has.
Everyone.Have a walkway with rails so people can stop and take pictures
The bottom level Food and other vendors. Then build a walkway across to the exact same looking building that will be on the other side of the bridge walkway. Balance it out.
On top of the second level can build up a few floors a hotel to rent to tourists. Revolving income.
Don't sell that land. Keep it. Build on it.
With this idea above, It would organize and add structure and balance and cohesiveness.
So, 2 buildings, attached by a walkway on a 2nd level platform with walkway and rails and floors above would be an all year round income for the beach. Make some fun winter things happen here so people will come. Level ground will be the food and .... whatever your heart desires. Maybe some spots for people to eat their food with Wasaga Beach umbrellas. Maybe umbrellas with local businesses information displayed.
Something better than plan above for sure.
That looks like a suburban neighborhood.
This Is WB. Longest ... be creative and make it thrive.

6WBT9 over 3 years ago

This is much better and it is good seeing all of the developments in this area. Moving forward. Keep up the pace. Thank you Council.

Pitbullian over 3 years ago

Looks good to me. I just want to see this move forward. I hope this doesn't slow down the processs.

resident52 over 3 years ago

I'm not a lawyer but a big part of the rewording looks to me like you are opening the town up to a lot of loop holes that the high priced lawyers of the developers will jump all over to build what they want and not what the town was hoping for. I though we where redoing the beachfront to bring the tourist back and turn it into a year round attraction? To me it looks like we are just supplying the rich with a new living area on the waterfront. Where are the attractions, over night accommodations c/w high end seminar rooms to attract big corporation conferences and sales meetings.

Henrey77 over 3 years ago

Change is going to happen with or without your extensive surveys. New people from other areas are looking to invest in Wasaga. They have the money and the power to do so. The town is obviously incapable of making any decisions, so the longer they wait, the easier it is for private citizens to take the opportunities. The pandemic is accelerating this process.

Beach Bum over 3 years ago

Wasaga Beach Proposed policy amendments*

I am a Wasaga beach business owner Property developer and home owner/resident, for over 20 years, and I have many times rallied on Public forums to the Tax paying residents of Wasaga Beach and former Mayor on this issue,

In order to truly create full time tourism jobs ( year round good quality paying Full Time jobs by the hundreds) plus attract spin off businesses and the young families to our Town to actually be able to work, live, play here in our unique 4 season resort community downtown and Beach1 requires a serious focus and Need for a world class year round attractions. This Conversation Narrative partly focuses on,
the wasted lands of Provincial Park, a derelict in our midst Jenetta St. off of Spruce Street, A task for Our Redevelopment Committee and Town of Wasaga Beach, must acquisition this useless unappealing eye sore to many residents, Our Town Planners should send out a RFP to, Tropical_Islands_Resort

spot light*

Tropical Islands has a world record for the largest indoor waterpark. 2450 ft. x 290 ft. It is bigger than Canada's World Waterpark at West Edmonton Mall. It is also the fourth-largest building in the world by usable volume.[2] opened on 19 December 2004. Parques Reunidos acquired Tropical Islands in December 2018.[3] 17.5 Euros
( 21 million USD)

(Tropical Islands was built by the Malaysian corporation Tanjong*) < run by Parques Reunidos (from Spanish: Reunited Parks) is an international entertainment operator based in Madrid, Spain. The group operates over 60 parks in almost a dozen countries. Parques Reunidos operates theme and amusement parks, zoos, water parks, family entertainment centers, and cable cars. These facilities are located in Spain, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia and the United States. Through acquisitions of established names such as Kennywood Entertainment Company, Dutch Wonderland and Palace Entertainment, Parques Reunidos greatly expanded its presence in American amusement operations beginning in 2007 through today. Annual visitors to the group's attractions exceed 22 million, with revenue exceeding $570 million (USD). In 2008 it had the fifth-highest attendance figures for worldwide chains with 24.9 million, ahead of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Cedar Fair.[1] >

Wasaga Beach Committee could appoint a Liaison assisting in acquiring substantial Provincial and Federal funding 50% from the Germany State for this World Class (Year round jobs) tourism infrastructure, A Tropical IsLand waterpark, there proven Stats show it attracts average 6000 Guests/families Daily to Wasaga Beach anytime of year. the property could be self-sufficient requiring hundreds of full time employee's (600) and dozens of spin off local businesses servicing this tourism monument. I am Positive in saying a majority of Wasaga Beach taxpayers would embrace this inevitable enterprise (thru 1.5 % tax increase) to help jointly fund this tourism and job phenomenon to truly be able to catapult our Town, and to realize a plausible World Class destination, this is realistically the 1 of the only way to attract young families come to live, work and grow Main St. beach1 Wasaga beach, in reality, it would be a real tourism year round game changer would bring 10s of millions tourist dollars to the local economy and a promise of future sustainable well being!

WasagaRiverResort Inc. A tourism rental and property management company since 2000.

Nico141 over 3 years ago

We should not allow residential or rental properties to be developed on the Beach. Additional Commercial properties should not be allowed as well & the height limit should not be increased. We should keep it all Public & don't need Developers making plans for Public land. If we do it will destroy the Public Beach areas like other cities I've lived in have done. If you want a good example of doing it right look at North Bay. There are no Commercial or Residential properties in the main Beach area & it is at least 5 times the width of Wasaga Beach lake front. A lot more attractive with gardens & a nice winding road that is a lot further from the water & you can go for a 2km walk without residential property next to what we like to call the longest fresh water beach. Yeh sure, long but not very wide. It's already too late to have as much non residential land but any further development will take away what little parkland & tourist area that we do have & Wasaga will become just like any other city with too much for Businesses & little for the tourists except those that can afford a vacation property. Little for the average families coming for a day at the Beach.

RButch over 3 years ago

The changes drastically change the vision and weaken public access. The use of “may” is alarming. Places like Banff, Blue Mountain have a vision and developers must comply. The town “may” take cash is lieu of parking. The shops “may” be residential units, that look like shops. My concern is this “may” result in the privatization of much of the town lands. An easement is not the same as a public space. Wish I could say the changes “may” be an improvement for the public, not developers.

AS over 3 years ago

Nothing in these documents in general would cause me to get concerned. I find it difficult to judge the content critically. For clarity I would prefer the opening sentences to state something like..."In keeping with our long term vision for the future of Wasaga Beach we continue to formulate our action plans to be coherent and consistent with that Vision." Last read of the town website regarding the towns long term Vision is really not helpful in assesing this document. My read of the vision and mission statement on the town website suggests that it was an excercise completed to ensure there is a check mark in a box on someones to do list. The leadership of this towns Vision short/medium/long term for Wasaga is missing for me.

buckley01 over 3 years ago
Page last updated: 24 Feb 2021, 08:53 AM