For the past 10 years the Barrie fairgrounds have remained vacant. In 2007 the Barrie fairgrounds were purchased by Osmington Incorporated, based out of Toronto. Since the purchase of the site, however, there has been no development, largely due to external factors.
There have been many proposals for the use of the land in the past decade by Osmington. In 2008, Osmington proposed to build a 400,000 square-foot equestrian-themed shopping centre, although the economic decline in 2008 stopped the development. A second proposal for the site involved the creation of a campus for Laurentian University, although the City of Barrie did not win the bid, meaning that the land remained vacant. Today, the site is proposed to be a mixed-use retail and residential area.
Before any new development of the site can occur the roads connected to the site, particularly Essa Road and the ramps to Highway 400, would need to be widened and improved. Delays in widening Essa Road, however, have resulted in the valuable 60 acre land lying vacant for a decade. A traffic impact study was called for in 2008 and was not completed until 2012. It is expected to cost $10.1 million to widen Essa Road to six lanes and for Highway 400 ramp improvements. The City of Barrie has made progress in its efforts to widen Essa Road, although the construction has not taken place yet.
The delays in roadwork have also caused challenges for the owners to attract retailers and tenants to occupy the property. Due to these issues, the Barrie fairgrounds will remain vacant until Essa Road is widened, which may be a few years away.
To track the various proposals and delays in the development of the Barrie fairgrounds, check out the below news articles.
Photo credit: CTV News