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Puslinch population to grow to 9,655 by 2041

by Mike Robinson

ABERFOYLE - Updated local growth forecasts could be adopted by Wellington County before summer.

Mark Paoli, Wellington County’s manager of policy planning spoke to council regarding amendments to Wellington County’s official plan and its growth forecasts.

The amendments combine growth forecasts and second unit policy updates.

He said that in 2013, the province updated growth forecasts in the Greater Golden Horseshoe including Wellington County.

While the 2036 numbers remain the same, Paoli said the numbers changed for 2041.

He noted the firm Watson and Associates prepared a household forecast using Places to Grow numbers.

Paoli said one of the main objectives is to have enough land designated to accommodate growth for the next 20 years.

He explained current Wellington County Official Plan forecasts were adopted in 2008 to conform with and allocate the forecasts for the Greater Golden Horseshoe set out in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe which extended to 2031.

Since that time, the province approved an amendment of the growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe that shows population and employment forecasts at 2031, 2036 and 2041.

Paoli noted that in recent years changes to the Planning Act identified affordable housing as a matter of provincial interest and now require municipalities to amend their Official Plan documents to contain policies which authorize second units in single detached, semi-detached and rowhouse dwellings; as well as structures ancillary to these dwellings.

Additional changes included extending the temporary time a garden suite may be permitted on a property from 10 to 20 years. The overall purpose of the Planning Act changes is to increase the supply of affordable housing by strengthening second unit and garden suite provisions.

According to the growth forecast Wellington County’s population is expected to jump from  95,805 (2016) to 140,000 (2041).

In Puslinch, the township’s population is expected to grow from 7,815 (2016) to 9,655 (2041).

Paoli said for Puslinch, this translates to 610 more households and 1,140 more jobs.

He said growth forecasts for the urban areas of Puslinch are “modest” with only 10 households in Aberfoyle and 40 more households in Morriston.

Paoli believed there is currently enough designated land within the Puslinch Official Plan to accommodate this growth for residential purposes.

He added there is also enough industrial and commercial land land set aside.

Paoli said the second part of the document includes regulation of secondary living units for existing buildings or on ancillary buildings (provided there are none on the main structure.)

Second units, also known as accessory or basement apartments, secondary suites or in-law suites; are self-contained residential units with separate kitchen, bathroom and sleeping facilities.

Second units increase the stock of affordable rental housing; provide home owners with additional incomes; and offer alternative housing options for elderly and young adult family members.

Second units are not the same as garden suites because garden suites are temporary residences.

A public meeting is taking place on April 21 at Wellington Place in Aboyne.

Paoli said county council would be in a position to adopt revised documents in May or June.

Councillor Ken Roth asked whether every municipality in Wellington County was required to have the same regulations regarding secondary residences - for farm help in  particular.

Paoli said those regulations can be designated locally.

Councillor Wayne Stokley said council’s opinion on the amount of designated industrial land is that they want more.

Stokley’s current concern was about projected growth.

He asked if second units in buildings are considered as part of the projected growth within the township.

Paoli said there are some municipalities which have had some uptake “and we’ve been tracking that.”

However the current growth forecasts do not yet take that into account for projected overall housing numbers.

Stokley said he would be interested to see if the use of secondary residents would alter the number of housing units required.

Paoli said the municipality with the most similar activity for the longest period of time is Centre Wellington.

“While the numbers are not insignificant, it is also not a major percentage,” Paoli said.

“It helps with intensification targets ... but is not a major component of the community growth.”

Stokley said Puslinch likely has the highest average age which means there is also a high number of retired people.

“What is happening now (is) a lot are retiring and unable to stay in the community and therefore leaving.”

Stokley said he’d prefer residents to be able to remain in their community.

Paoli said he believed one of the main reasons behind the changed regulations on creating secondary housing was to provide a means for residents to stay in the community.

Councillor Susan Fielding hopes the changes will make it easier for seniors to stay in their homes.

“It seems like we have a lot of big houses in Puslinch - but most ... have only two people living there.”

Most of the anticipated growth remains slated for Centre Wellington, where forecasts currently project the township’s population to jump from 29,885 (2016) to 52,310 (2041).


April 15, 2016


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