Town of Collingwood Council Receives Notice of MZO Approval for the Proposed Poplar Regional Health & Wellness Village

November 18, 2022
Planning & Development

The Town of Collingwood received notice on November 17, 2022, that the Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) was approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on November 16, 2022, for the proposed Poplar Regional Health & Wellness Village.   

On November 16, 2022, prior to receiving notice of an approval, the Town’s newly elected Council approved amendments to the previous Council’s resolution to seek a request to the Minister that the MZO approval be paused, while remaining committed to the vision and to reaching a companion agreement swiftly with the developer. Council’s intention was that a final request to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for MZO approval would occur when a companion development agreement between the property owner and the municipality had been finalized. However, on November 17, 2022, the Town was informed that the Minister had approved the MZO request, per previous Council’s decision regarding this matter on November 10, 2022.  As a result of this approval, Mayor Hamlin has reached out to the Minister’s Office to clarify the current Council’s position and to ask that the Minister pause the MZO approval at this time.  

“Council voted last night to defer the MZO application to allow the Town to work with the developer on an agreement with protections and benefits to our community. This is a major development for our Town and we must get it right. That’s why I’ve asked Minister Clark to pause the MZO decision while we make sure our community’s needs are put first. We expect the provincial government to honour the wishes of the people of Collingwood as expressed in the recent election,” says Mayor Yvonne Hamlin. 

The Town will continue to work with the developer in drafting the development agreement, as committed to by the parties, with the intention of reaching an agreement that will protect the Town’s interests and secure community benefits as soon as possible. 

Project Background  

On March 7, 2022, Live, Work, Learn, and Play Inc and DiPoce Management Ltd (“the Proponents”) provided a deputation to the Strategic Initiatives Committee outlining the proposed vision for the Poplar Regional Health and Wellness Village (“the Village”) to be located at 7120 and 7200 Poplar Side Road in the Town of Collingwood. The Village is described as a 130-acre innovative and fully integrated mixed-use community focused on healthcare, sports medicine, well-being, recreation, and environmental sustainability. The master concept plan would be comprised of seven distinct districts, inclusive of approximately 2,200+ purpose-built workforce and supportive residential housing units, more than two million square feet of non-residential development, including a large-scale health-based institutional anchor, five kilometers of trails, and an estimated 19 acres of environmentally protected green recreation space. 

The Proponents indicate that the anticipated mix of uses would be a majority of purpose-built and supportive housing and medical health and wellness services, with a smaller subset of office and research facilities, community amenities and services, retail, food and beverage, and educational uses. The Proponent estimates the number of jobs that will be created by this proposal is over 3,500, primarily institutional, office and light industrial in nature,and that a minimum of 10% of housing units would be attainable. 

Staff and the Town's consultants have worked diligently with the Proponent since their initial deputation, on developing appropriate tools and options to deliver the transformative vision. The Proponent, as directed by Council, led intensive public/stakeholder consultation in April and May of 2022 and beyond. 

The following staff reports were presented to Council in April and August 2022 respectively detailing stakeholder consultations, proposal analysis and staff recommendations: 

A Minister’s Zoning Order allows the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to adjust the zoning on lands outside of the traditional land use planning process and is typically used to accelerate development decisions with significant Provincial interests.