WELLINGTON NORTH ‒ Protecting farmland and developing supportive infrastructure are top priorities for council as they anticipate the impacts of future development on the township.
The discussion was prompted by a letter from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Paul Calandra, asking Wellington North for their top five of the Housing Affordability Task Force's 74 recommendations to help Ontario tackle the housing supply crisis they feel would benefit the community's future.
"As we look to do more to solve the housing supply and affordability crisis together, it’s important for the province to have a full understanding of our municipal partners’ positions on these recommendations as quickly as possible," wrote Calandra.
While he acknowledged many of the recommendations concern urban cities, Coun. Steve McCabe advocated for the protection of farmland in rural townships during the meeting.
"The food security in Ontario is paramount and we are looking to protect what we have, especially in Wellington North," said McCabe. "We have a right and I think a duty to protect this farmland as we go forward not just for now but also for the next generation."
However, Coun. Penny Renken was more concerned about the lack of support included for the development proposed in terms of education, healthcare, and public safety in the recommendations listed.
"(The province) wants to build (homes) fast, they want to put them in every place we can and bring people in but they're not providing social support for the people who are going to be utilizing these units," said Renken. "I understand where (the province) is coming from but I don't think they're looking at the whole picture."
Council will discuss their preferred recommendations, accompanied by a staff report, at the next council meeting.
Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.