Innisfil council mulling over zoning bylaw change to allow new Catholic elementary school in Lefroy

Catholic board looking at site near 20th Sideroad & Killarney Beach Rd

Lefroy could be getting a new Catholic elementary school, but the Town of Innisfil has a few things to mull over first.

The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board has identified a site at which it wants to build a new elementary school and has even obtained provincial funding to do so. The thing is, the land, located near 20th Sideroad and Killarney Beach Road in Lefroy, isn’t zoned for a school, but for residential units. The Town of Innisfil might just change that, however.

Innisfil Council held a special meeting this week to get all the facts on a rezoning application. During the meeting, Councillor Bill Van Berkel pointed out the location sits well with him. “I’m excited about this, and I also think I like the location, simply that it isn’t on the 20th Sideroad,” he said. “If you see what happens in Alcona, holding up traffic in school zones, so having it off the 20th Sideroad will alleviate all that.” Van Berkel’s ward sits just north of the proposed location.

“I think it’s a good location, I hope it goes forward, and I’m sure that a lot of people in my area are going to be excited to hear this,” he concluded.

The next steps for the town include receiving a site plan of the school layout, conducting a traffic study, and a review of pedestrian access to the site. Town staff will also review the public, council, agency, and peer review comments, with a report expected at a future council meeting. It is then that the rezoning application could be approved.

If all goes to plan, the school should be built and open in the next two years. “The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic DSB received an allocation from the Ministry of Education in March 2020 to build a new 401 student school in Innisfil,” says a school board spokesperson. “The project is currently in design and the Board is working with the Town and the Developer to achieve a school opening for September 2023.”

Once built, the school would be a two-storey structure at about 40,000 square feet. It would initially fit 401 students, with a day nursery/child care centre with space for 48. The design carries the potential for twelve temporary portables that could accommodate another 276 students and allows for future expansion for another 184 students on top of that. This school could fit 909 pupils once fully realized.