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Rapid growth posing challenges to local leaders

May 1, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Michelle Janzen


The Economic Development Committee (EDC) of Shelburne held their annual breakfast last Wednesday at the Royal Canadian Legion, outlining “Shelburne on the Move, where do we go from here?”

This breakfast meeting started at 7 am sharp and began with brief updated from Michelle Harris, Director on the Dufferin Board of Trade (DBOT) who, along with others, works closely with partners at each municipality in Dufferin to promote the growth of an ecosystem designed to support businesses, individuals and the community.

As the Executive Director of Headwaters Tourism, Ms. Harris works extensively within the regional, municipal & provincial political framework to leverage activities and integrate strategies into creative and innovative partnerships.

With some background on the organizations and what they do, Ms. Harris advised that Dufferin County sees 876,000 visitors annually, translating into over $3 million being spent in the area, letting those in attendance know that they are working towards building a strong, resilient and integrated local economy.

Ellen Sinclair from the Orangeville and Area Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC) spoke of how SBEC is there to provide guidance and support to start-up and existing small businesses during their initial years of operation.

She advised attendees they are there to help your business develop, grow and succeed and offer a wide variety of free support services to assist you in your business decisions, as well as offer a variety of business related workshops and events throughout the year that are geared to helping entrepreneurs develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed and grow.

Next was a panel discussion with the following members: Ken Bennington, Mayor of Shelburne, Wade Mills, Chair of the EDC and Town Councillor, Kim Phillip of Canopy Development Corporation, Lucy Stocco of Tribute Communities, Mara Samardzic of Fieldgate Homes, Neil Prichard from the Shelburne BIA, Marg McCarthy of Royal LePage Reality, Sharon Grant of Royal LePage Reality and EDC member and Steve Wever the Town Planner for Shelburne.

With growth in Shelburne at a whopping 39 per cent as of 2016, the population was 8,126 compared to 2011 when population was at 5,846. An estimated 500 plus homes set to start construction this fall, Shelburne is the fastest growing town in Ontario and the second fastest growing town in Canada.

“This growth is hot to handle, and Council can’t respond fast enough, however we are defiantly giving it our best,” stated Mayor Bennington. “Council has been working to upgrade infrastructure and are aware that such things as recreational, library and policing needs also need to be addressed going forward.”

Mr. Mills told attendees, “The EDC strategic plan that was put into place has provided framework going forward for the next five years, giving us road markers to see if we are meeting the challenges and dealing with them then.

“Sustainable growth is what we want but fast growth is what we are dealing with, so we need to put plans into place and deal with it.”

Neil Prichard of the BIA spoke to the parking issues in the downtown core, which are currently being addressed by the new by-law officer with changes in the works.

“The BIA are looking to expand their area, and are hopeful that with Tribute Homes being built within walking distance to the downtown core it is just what they need to get what they are calling, feet on the street,” Prichard said.

Both Marg McCarthy and Sharon Grant spoke to the residential and industrial sales in Shelburne, with Ms. Grant advising last year for the first quarter of the year houses were selling on average at 99 per cent of their asking price compared to this year at 104 per cent.


She also advises that the new homes are the ones that most people are looking for and that are going higher then asking price.

Ms. McCarthy said that most of the industrial lots in Shelburne should be sold by the end of this year with strip plazas slated to be going in that already have several tenants already lined up by Lakeview Homes and Vandyke subdivisions.

Both Grant and McCarthy agreed that housing prices in Shelburne should start to level out once the new homes are constructed, filling the need where there is a gap, which has generated bidding wars, like never before seen in Shelburne.

Stocco and Samardzic spoke to the price increase of homes at almost 30 per cent compared to last year. In 2016 a home on a 40’ lot was selling for $471,000 and this year is now selling for $613,000.

With that in mind, both companies do not know what price points their new homes will start at but say they are targeting first time home buyers and will be providing a range of townhomes and semi-detached homes as well some detached homes in their subdivisions.

While Phillip says “The Official Plan is helping keep with public policy and helping development to move forward, some flexibility from the municipality is what is nice when developing a community,” he finished by saying “working with Shelburne Planning and Council has been a treat.”

Next on the EDC’s list is their Golf Tournament, which is being held May 25 at Shelburne Golf and Country Club.

This is a 3 p.m. start with nine holes and a dinner.

Cost is $75 and the first 18 teams will be accepted. For more information or tickets please contact the Town of Shelburne at 519-925-2600.


ABOVE: Recipients of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) Award were recognized at the Annual EDC Breakfast that was held on Wednesday, April 19, at the Shelburne Legion. Awards went to Dean Allen, Murray Fines and Brian Horner for their past contributions while serving on the EDC. Pictured here is Brian Horner receiving his award and Councillor Wade Mills, current EDC Chair. Photo by Michelle Janzen




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