Let there be growth
A 60-home development set to be built in the hamlet of Ospringe (in Erin) brings up a debate about whether or not subdivisions should be developed in rural areas.
In this particular case, the land is within the settlement boundary and has been identified in the official plan as a development area.
However, concerns were still raised about the impact this large-scale-for-a-hamlet development will have on the surrounding area.
Townships have to be smart about what can be developed and what cannot.
Neighbours do not want to lose important agricultural land, and municipal services need to be thought out long-term.
This does not mean municipalities should discount this important tool for growth.
The province mandates growth numbers to every region and the county will see itself struggling to meet the projected 141,000 population if rural land isn’t considered.
As the county expands, urban areas will be pushed to their boundaries and developers will look elsewhere for the much-needed property.
A 60-home community brings many jobs related to construction and families will fill schools (public schools in Erin saw an average of 67% utilization in 2016). These new residents will also contribute to the local economy and pay taxes.
If you’re look for a good reason for more development, just think each of those houses will bring new members to the community.
Growing up in semi-rural Ontario was quite the life 25 years ago.
The forest behind my house was teaming with adventure. From tadpoles to summer forts to winter ice paths through the trees, life was never dull.
Then, in the middle of elementary school, my sanctuary was ruined by development. I still look out my parents’ kitchen window in Guelph-Eramosa Township today and resent the houses that were built so long ago.
It seems everywhere we look in today’s society, more is better. More houses, more people, more vehicles.
When is it enough?
As cities and towns begin testing their urban borders farmland and environmental areas are at risk of being lost forever.
Growth is necessary but at what cost?
Over the last few months we’ve seen a number of abandoned house fires and it begs the question: why were they vacant in the first place? If rural areas are so pushed for space, why are once perfectly good houses on residentially-zoned property falling into a state of dilapidation?
Instead of always looking for somewhere to put a shiny new residential development, it’s time for governments to take stock of their residential land, evaluate its currently level of use and decide if it’s salvageable or if it can be re-purposed for growth, saving what little farmland and agricultural areas remain.