County: Guelph-Eramosa to see population, housing increases

According to Wellington County growth forecasts Guelph-Eramosa Township is predicted to see both population and employment increases by 2036 and again by 2041.

At the April 18 council meeting township planning associate Kelsey Lang presented the county growth forecast updates that reflected the township’s submitted comments from last summer.

“We met with them a number of times to discuss the comments and work through them and they have taken our comments into consideration and have reflected them in what they’re proposing,” she said.

Lang said the 2036 and 2041 population, household and employment rates are appropriate.

“The proposed number of jobs better reflects the unique township circumstances such as we have a lot of commuting population in our township as well as the new Highway 7 and what not but those weren’t reflected in the previous draft,” she said. One of the things the department looked at was whether there was actually room in Rockwood for its predicted increases.

“In 2016 our population in Rockwood is 5,000 people … and 1,745 households,” Lang said. “(The) forecasted population in 2036 is 6,125 in 2,155 households and we believe this is reasonable because the majority of those units have already been planned and allocated to certain places on the ground.”

However, Mayor Chris White said Rockwood would likely meet those projections before 2036.

“I think it’s a good exercise to do but … you’d probably be better off to go to a psychic to get some of these numbers,” councillor Corey Woods said. “Because it’s like we don’t know what’s going to happen five minutes from now let alone 25 years from now.”

While it was discussed that the exercise may not be the most accurate for the township, White said it’s important in some situations.  

“When we were building that school in the south end they told us you could build that school in Fergus because that’s where the numbers are,” White said. “We had to get the numbers jigged around and shift them a little from employment lands to allow you to do that.” Councillor David Wolk said his concern was about the number growth.

“These are very small jumps which, sitting where we’re sitting, should not give anybody a warm fuzzy feeling because it also says somebody doesn’t believe there’ll be much employment opportunity here,” he said.

White explained that’s a result of the employment land available. “That was one of our comments last time from August was that we felt the employment forecasts were too low and so we went back saying, because of where the township’s positioned and it’s relation to Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge and the new Highway 7 and the industrial lands that we already have we asked them to raise the employment forecast and that’s what they did,” Lang said.

The township’s employment forecasts are now outpacing the township’s population forecasts.

“We believe that’s reasonable given the position that the township is currently in,” Lang said.

Council received the report and endorsed the township’s proposed comments to the county saying it supports the forecasts and requests to be involved in discussions as the forecasts are refined in the future.