Skip to content

Grey Highlands councillors question growth forecast

Members of Grey Highlands council expressed concerns growth forecasts being used to calculate development charges don't accurately reflect the current situation
Grey Highlands town hall
The Grey Highlands municipal office.

Members of Grey Highlands council are concerned growth projections being used to calculate updated development charges for the municipality are too low.

At its meeting on Oct. 5, council received an update from Stefan Kreczunowicz of Hemson Consulting about an ongoing process to update the municipality’s development charges background study and bylaw.

As part of the update process, the municipality must forecast future growth expectations and capital infrastructure requirements to determine what projects are development charge eligible.

Members of council indicated concerns with the growth forecasts in the report from the consultants. The report suggests that from 2021 to 2046 Grey Highlands will see population growth of 1,180 new residents, with 640 new households during the same time period.

“To me, it seems low based on the development we’re seeing, particularly in Markdale, but across the municipality,” said Coun. Cathy Little.

Coun. Paul Allen agreed.

“We’re not using figures that accurately describe Grey Highlands,” he said. “Can we update those numbers to more realistic growth?”

Allen said the report forecasts population growth of 310 people from 2021 to 2026: “I’d say we’re already there."

Coun. Dane Nielsen said it’s obvious to anybody visiting Shelburne and Dundalk that growth is coming.

“Over the past 10 years, you can see the growth coming up the HIghway 10 corridor towards Grey Highlands,” he said. “Grey Highlands is next on the docket.”

In response to the concerns, Kreczunowicz explained that the growth projects are based on the numbers in Grey County’s recently completed Growth Management Study and the latest census data from the federal government. He also said they use long-term data about the amount and type of growth Grey Highlands has experienced. He said, traditionally, Grey Highlands has seen mostly single detached units at a steady pace. He acknowledged that over the past two years growth has risen above historical levels in recent years.

“The last two years has been off the charts,” he said. “If things proceed more rapidly in a sustained way, you are required to update the bylaw in the five-year time frame.”

Mayor Paul McQueen cited the list of future capital projects included as part of the report and advised the next council to do a thorough review.

“I have been through a few development charges studies and you have to justify where you’re raising new funds,” said McQueen. “The new term of council will need to take the time to go through that list.”

The report identifies more than $18.1 million of capital works that will be development charge eligible.

Kreczunowicz said the timeline for the project will see a draft background study and bylaw in front of the new council late in 2022. Following the draft going to council there will be a council information session, public release of the study/bylaw and a statutory public meeting. A new development charges bylaw for Grey Highlands must be in place by Feb. 11, 2023, as that is the date the existing bylaw expires.

Reader Feedback

About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
Read more