Local News

Township discusses growth with residents in Mount Forest

A small crowd was on hand yesterday evening for Wellington North’s second Growth, Housing and Development Public Information Session, in Mount Forest.
Like the April session in Arthur, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss projected growth expectations for the municipality, and how the area will handle it.
Chief Administrative Officer Mike Givens said the growth is driven by the need for more workers across many sectors.
Over the next 15 to 20 years, Wellington North’s population is expected to grow by more than 7,000 residents. Local employment is projected to have 2,370 more jobs to fill.
He said housing development is a necessity. He talked about different kinds of housing that could be built, such as townhouses, low-rise multi-unit buildings, duplexes or triplexes.
“It has to be the right mix,” said Givens.
Chief Building Officer Darren Jones said the township has seen an unprecedented number of building permit applications in the last year.
“The community will change,” Givens said, “but that doesn’t have to be a negative.”
Givens explained development charges associated with building ensure “growth pays for growth”.
There are capital expenditures for the township when new builds happen, and development charges are meant to recover those costs.
At the same time, the township still has other capitol projects such as road and sidewalk work.
“All the growth can’t take away from our rehabilitation projects,” Givens said.
Director of Operations Matt Aston spoke about the sewage allocation policy in Wellington North, which has been used by council as a tool to try and control growth.
What used to be a first-come, first-served policy in relation to sewage allocation, became an annual allocation of 15 per cent of the available capacity in both Arthur and Mount Forest.
A sewage allocation is a requirement to getting a building permit.
He explained that, in Arthur, the total allocation by capacity that could have been available this April, would have allowed 391 single detached homes to be built in Arthur. Fifteen per cent of that would be 59 units.
In Mount Forest, there were 785 uncommitted units of allocation. Fifteen per cent means a maximum of 118 units can be granted.
Wellington County Director of Economic Development Crystal Ellis said, “it’s critical we look at housing to stay competitive.”