A plan to build 80 condo units on Strawberry Island, at the north end of Lake Simcoe, has been abandoned.
Simcoe County Committee of the Whole accepted this information as a update on March 22, 2016.
The owner and developer, now renamed TAG Developments, is going back to the drawing board with its plans for the 10.4-hectare island.
Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority found that the initial plans were not consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement on planning for stormwater management and did not conform with the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.
Planscape, the planner for the developer, wrote to the Township of Ramara to say that new owners of Trans America Group had been "reviewing their position with respect to developing the island, and will not be pursuing the application as originally presented.
"At this time, the owners are contemplating either a limited number of single detached residential lots … small scale "family compound" opportunities or small scale institutional uses (reflective of the historic use of the site), while continuing to satisfy the requirements of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan."
The Friends of Strawberry Island citizens' group waged a steady campaign against the original plan for intensive condominium development.
"We are very glad to see the first design abandoned," says Pam Fulford, head of the Friends of Strawberry Island. "We hope the next one will be to the scale and low impact of the Basilian Fathers retreat that has protected Strawberry Island for almost 100 years.
"The Friends of Strawberry Island are extremely pleased and relieved to see the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority uphold the Lake Simcoe Protection Act and the Provincial Policy Statement. We also thank the Ontario Ministries, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for recognizing the significance of this small island in Lake Simcoe, its diversity of species and landform, the significant woodland, wetlands and natural shoreline.
"It is such a relief to see that our Conservation Authority takes its responsibility seriously in protecting our lake from increased phosphorus inputs. This issue is still being resolved but we want people to know that we welcome appropriate development on Lake Simcoe — the type of development that does not damage the lake and our natural heritage."