Corp Comm Connects

Big developments on Hwy. 48 highlight key projects in Stouffville for 2021

Land conversions at Hoover Park and Hwy. 48 could bring thousands of new residents
Jan. 7, 2021
Simon Martin

As the calendar turns to 2021, there are a lot of things on the docket to get done in Whitchurch-Stouffville.

2020 marked the beginning of large new developments in town on Highway 48, and that will continue this year. Late last year, the region approved two land conversion requests for large mixed-use developments at the Smart Centre plaza and the vacant land across the road.

Mayor Iain Lovatt said the large developments along Highway 48 will have a long-lasting impact on the town. “It is going to be very good and completely transform the whole Hwy. 48 corridor,” he said. “It’s a bit of a dog’s breakfast at the moment.”

The Smart Centres land conversion is for the property located at the southeast quadrant corner of Hoover Park Drive and Highway 48 in Stouffville. The proposal intends a mixed-use development consisting of office, retirement and residential space. The land in question is to the east of the current centre. The specific proposal is seeking eight-to-12-storey office buildings, mixed-use buildings and residential buildings along the Hoover Park Drive frontage. South of the mixed-use building is a proposed 10-storey retirement building and eight-storey mid-rise residential buildings. South of Sam’s Way are several eight-storey mid-rise apartment buildings.

The land conversion request at the northeast corner of Highway 48 and Hoover Park allows for 1,050 to 1,680 apartment units and 116 to 191 townhouse units, as well as commercial uses such as a marketplace, office space, hotel and conference centre and school.

“To me, it’s going to change the shape of Stouffville,” Ward 4 Coun. Rick Upton said. “There could be a couple thousand jobs created.”

The planning process of these large-scale developments will get started in 2021.

Another issue that will be a big focus for the town in the coming year will be the Official Plan Review. Lovatt said he will be focused on helping people understand how the official plan works. While new development is coming, Lovatt said, it is clustered in the urban centre of the town.

One of those new developments that is set to open its doors in 2021 is the Stouffville Junction located on Main Street and Edward Street. The vision for the project is for a mixed-use development, with the main floor being designed for hospitality and retail use, with hopes of a restaurant or a place where people could gather, while the upstairs will have 10 purpose-built rental units. Upton said he’s been impressed with how the developers have restored the historic Mansion House, which used to be a hotel in the 19th century. “They have spared no expense,” he said.

Ward 6 Coun. Sue Sherban said she will be focused on economic development for new businesses in Whitchurch-Stouffville. Sherban said she is concerned about the land conversions that have taken prime commercial land from the centre of town. “We change commercial to residential/commercial mix again, losing commercial land that would have been 100 per cent business taxes,” she said.

Ward 3 Coun. Hugo Kroon is also focused on economic development, but his focus is located on the Highway 404 corridor. Kroon has been beating the drum for the Gormley for the past two years. “There is all kinds of stuff going on in the background but things are starting to fall together,” he said.

As for new amenities in 2020, Lovatt said new tennis courts and pickleball courts at Memorial Park, as well as the start of the design for the skating trail, are items residents might make use of.

While municipalities play little role in distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, Lovatt said the town will do what it can to help in that regard in 2021. When the town did a drive-thru test flu shot clinic in 2020, Lovatt said, it was a dry run for administering the COVID-19 vaccines. He said they administered 300 flu shots an hour at the drive-thru clinic. “We will make ourselves available however possible,” he said.