The Hurontario LRT will connect Brampton and Mississauga’s smaller neighbourhoods, and could spur massive growth over the next five years
By Deidre Olsen
Since 2014, Mississauga has received applications for more than 15 new developments within a 500-metre radius of the Hurontario and Eglinton Avenue LRT stop. That might not sound like much to residents of Toronto’s urban core, where as many new condos could be announced in any given month. But for GTA’s 905 suburbs, it’s a signal that a major shift has begun.
The Hurontario LRT—set to be completed by 2024—will connect Brampton and Mississauga’s smaller communities, currently underserviced by transit, to larger metropolitan areas, and it could spur massive growth and development over the next five years. With its own separated guideway spanning 18 km along the Hurontario corridor, the 19-stop LRT line will connect Brampton Gateway Terminal to the north with the Port Credit GO station to the south. According to Darshpreet Bhatti, vice-president of Rapid Transit at Hurontario Light Rail Transit, trains will run “every 7.5 minutes during rush hour and every 10 to 12 minutes during off-peak hours, reducing vehicular travel by 14 million km per year.”
“The LRT will service one of the city’s busiest corridors,” Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie says. By 2041, Crombie projects, “nearly 25 per cent of all residents and jobs in our city will be within one kilometre of the LRT” – a significant reorientation for Mississauga.
The LRT will service one of the city’s busiest corridors
While a start date for construction of the LRT work hasn’t yet been announced, the residential development applications are coming in. Here’s a look at some of the housing options being proposed for commuters who’d like to live a few blocks from their stop:
Despite being a major transit hub, Mississauga’s Cooksville neighbourhood has over the years been overlooked by the city as a desirable site for development initiatives. The area is already gearing up to welcome a GO Station at 3210 Hurontario St. in 2020, but it’s the LRT stop, coming to Hurontario and Dundas, that’s setting the scene for more significant change in an area bracing for a population increase of 7,000 people by 2031.
A vacant spot near the stop is being currently being proposed for development by Consulate Development Group. The project, called 20/Twenty Townhomes, will include 148 back-to-back stacked townhouses alongside parklands.
The pre-construction development on North Service Road, where the urban-style townhomes with landscaped patios and rooftop terraces are to be built, is a 10-minute walk from the coming LRT stop. The homes are being designed for young families and professionals, with two-to-three-bedroom options beginning in the mid-$600,000s. With the project to be surrounded by scenic parks and trails, the developers are hoping to appeal to residents looking for a small-town lifestyle in the country’s sixth largest city, without sacrificing transit access to other points.
Mississauga’s historic 200-acre Britannia Farm, owned by the Peel District School Board, is home to a sugarbush and field centre. It also features a number of heritage buildings erected in the 1800s, including a red-brick schoolhouse, a farmhouse, Gardney-Dunton House and Conniver Barn. All of these will be relocated to make way for 32 acres of residential and commercial redevelopment now that mixed-use leases have been approved by the City of Mississauga in anticipation of the Hurontario LRT construction.
According to Peel Board planning and accommodation controller Randy Wright, the mixed-use “development parcel is one of the last opportunities to create a large master-planned residential community” in the area – one that will feature affordable housing alongside green space, with easy access to the LRT. No proposals from developers have yet been made.
The Britannia Farm will also give non-residents of the redevelopment access to the site’s outdoor spaces, in a city that sorely needs them. “The remaining 160 acres of the Britannia Farm will remain as naturalized, open, park-like space,” Wright says.
The remaining 160 acres of the Britannia Farm will remain as naturalized, open, park-like space
At the corner of Hurontario and Steeles, there’s a Petro V Plus gas station, two auto mechanic shops and Galito, a South African piri piri restaurant that has operated on the site for the past eight years. Those may soon give way to a proposed 20-storey mixed-use tower containing 186 residential units alongside retail and commercial spaces. Approval is pending, but the project is one of the first to be proposed in Brampton following the announcement of the LRT’s arrival.
This Brampton tower has been met with both optimism and opposition. Some neighbours have aired concerns at public meetings about the impacts of the building shadowing their residences. Developed by G-force Urban Planners, an urban and regional land development consulting firm, the proposed tower would require an amendment of the zoning bylaw to permit the 1.3-acre project.
Though it’s a modest development by inner-city standards, the project represents a pivot in the outer suburb towards high-density planning – one that’s needed. By 2041, the population of Brampton is expected to grow to 890,000. That’s up from 617,994, based on data from the 2016 census and forecasting by Hemson Consulting, which projected growth at 13 per cent.
The proposed development is a 10-minute walk from the Brampton Gateway Terminal and Shopper’s World, a site flagged for major transformation – and perhaps the most dramatic example of density planning that’s hitting the suburbs. The mall, built in 1969, is the future home of a master-planned neighbourhood being proposed by RioCan. Plans, submitted for approval this fall, indicate that the 58-acre site would house a series of residential buildings – from three storeys to 28 storeys – that contain 5,000 units. The incoming neighbourhood, which could take 30 years to complete, would feature mixed-used apartments, retail space, office buildings, townhouses, a community centre and library. In short, many of the features of a major urban hub.
As Natalie Stogdill, senior advisor of public relations for the City of Brampton, sees it, these changes to land use around the LRT line are a “significant catalyst for economic growth in the city, reinforcing Brampton’s position” on what she calls “the Innovation Corridor.”