It has been a while since Stouffville’s business community has been able to come together at one of the year’s biggest events. But after a couple of years off, the mayor’s annual dinner, hosted by the Stouffville Chamber of Commerce at Spring Lakes Golf and Country Club was packed to the brim with attendees waiting to hear Mayor Iain Lovatt deliver what was partially an economic update, but also a feel-good update on town progress.
Lovatt delivered a rapid-fire list of the current and future developments that are going on in Whitchurch-Stouffville, giving high marks to council and staff for the work that has been done to lure business and the much-needed commercial tax base that is required to pay for the infrastructure of one of the fastest growing municipalities in the country.
One of the biggest will be the massive Main Street revamp starting in 2025 that will see traffic and businesses inconvenienced as roads and sidewalks are ripped up and critical infrastructure below the surface is replaced. But this once-in-a-lifetime dig is essential, said Lovatt, and will pay huge dividends in the long run and promises that the town will mitigate some of the challenges businesses will face during the project.
“The new Main Street will create a distinctive downtown providing walkable spaces and social gathering points and a renewed streetscape,” said Lovatt, adding that the downtown area is being rebranded as the Village of Stouffville with the Chamber acting as a promotional “champion” for the area.
In addition to an update on a number of parks and public spaces that have been completed, Lovatt also highlighted many of the commercial developments that are coming to fruition including FarSight Homes head office in Ballantrae, Frank Stronach’s SARIT industries head office on Aurora Rd and Worldwide Home Furnishings world headquarters which is a massive 111,000 sq. ft facility on Woodbine as well as a couple of other Woodbine industrial projects soon to come.
In town, as The Review reported previously, the area just east of the SMART Centre plaza that hosts Sportchek, Winners and Walmart, among others, will host The Village of Stouffer Mills, a full-service community for seniors that includes independent living units, commercial establishments and a 192-bed long-term care home. This development will include a mini-campus of Seneca College that will train PSW and other healthcare disciplines in what is termed “a living classroom.”
The excellent Mon Sheong facility will also embark on phase 2 of their campus bringing an additional 224 long-term care beds. The news of more, much-needed LTC beds was a highlight of the night and caused Lovatt to happily tease Long-Term Care Minister and Government House Speaker for provincial parliament Paul Calandra, who also attended the evening, that the town was becoming the long-term care capital of Ontario.
To waves of applause, the mayor continued outlining a number of the 61 development applications that were received by the municipality in 2022, an enormous number given the relatively small size of Stouffville and one that outshines almost all York region municipalities.
That left the business crowd feeling pretty good about it all.