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Seguin granted MZO to rezone 743 acres, council plans on bringing in more attainable housing

Ontario has granted Seguin Township’s requested Minister’s Zoning Order allowing them to rezone over 740 acres of Seguin Land for residential development.

According to a release by Seguin, the province’s Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister approved the MZO on March 17. The MZO application was submitted by Seguin in January 2022, in the hopes of expediting the process of expanding lands available for residential development in the region. 

According to the release, the rezoning process is expected to “create opportunities for mixed-use development. It will also create net-new Environmental Protection (EP) zones in areas that previously had no designation,”.

Ann MacDiarmid, Mayor of Seguin, says the township is delighted the province has understood the need for housing in the West Parry Sound area and approved the rezoning. “The work has just begun, but we believe that the rezoning will help fix the huge housing shortage in our region,” she says.

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As for what council has planned for the 743 acres, MacDiarmid says there’s already one developer who is anxious to go. “We are hoping that the rest of the land will get purchased. Our goal is to have attainable housing, it’ll be a mix of rental and multi-unit [housing], like townhomes and perhaps stacked homes. As well as some attainable single-family dwellings,” she says.

MacDiarmid says Seguin’s goal is to showcase how to build relatively intense housing on the Canadian Shield. She says there’s a mix of environmentally protected land that the township instituted as well as what will be used for housing. “We’re looking forward to working perhaps with the First Nations to build some nature trails throughout that 700 Acres to make sure that we are showcasing the natural environment, protecting the environment as well as providing housing,” MacDiarmid says. 

As for when residents can expect shovels to hit the ground, she says before any of that can happen, council needs to go through some community consultation. “Obviously site plan approval and working with the developers to understand the infrastructure needs, but will also include wastewater and even road access. So my guess [is it] will be many many months [before building begins],” she says.

MacDiarmid says because of the MZO, none of the required planning steps is going to be skipped. She mentions that Parry Sound Muskoka MPP Graydon Smith has been “absolutely instrumental” in helping Seguin get their MZO as well as stressing the need for the region as a whole. “This isn’t housing for Seguin, this is housing for everyone that lives in West Parry Sound,” she says. 

Smith says it’s a goal of Ontario’s government to build housing and it’s a goal of Seguin to build housing, “so it’s a natural fit.” “In my conversations with Seguin, they made it very clear that they want housing of different types. Housing that is affordable for families and there may be others as well. I think that the plans will change a little bit over time, but they have a very clear vision of what they want,” Smith says. 

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