Barrie's downtown development revealed

The first step in downtown's revitalization comes in the form of a newly-revised plan for Barrie Central Collegiate's former lands.

HIP Developers met with Barrie residents at a public meeting at City Hall to see the updated Phase One draft plans for the two apartment towers and a shared five-story centre-piece at the Dunlop Street West corner Tuesday.

The proposed development has faced an uphill challenge since the school closed in 2016.

Initially, the concern was for the threatened swift birds perched in the former school's chimney had to be dealt with respectfully. Then there was the rerouting of water at the corner of High Street and then the proposed safe consumption site (SCS) at 11 Innisfil Street behind 180 Bradford Street that finally forced HIP to balk at its proposed concept.

"It definitely had us pause a couple of years back when we found out about it," said Joel Doherty of HIP. "Certainly, people in the community were in support of social needs and the help and things like that that need to happen. But it did make us pause in terms of having a building like that at the back and what it would mean in terms of marketing and so forth."

Previous plans to include the new YMCA in the design of the building collapsed. It is now expected to be built downtown on Worsley Street.

Doherty said HIP determined the location of the consumption site could be mitigated.

HIP reconfigured its building layout and presented a two-tower proposal with 30 floors on Tower One and another 26 stories on Tower Two to the public and council Tuesday.

"So if the safe consumption site does go ahead next door, if it operates that way the proponents intend for it to operate, then it would be just fine. There would be no issue," he said.

"For now, we're going to focus on this end of the site, and it's our hope that we'll continue development throughout the rest of the site in the years that come," he said.