Community Wants Provincial Government to End Stunted Growth

The town of New Tecumseth feels as if it has been left by the wayside.

Located in south-central Ontario, the town is home to Honda Canada’s assembly plant, which provides a large majority of the area’s jobs. The plant opened in 1986, and many of the original employees have begun to retire. But as the area’s inhabitants have aged, the town has not.

Since 2003, the Alliston community of New Tecumseth has been urging the province to allow the town to further develop the area. Their growth plan for the area met all of the 2006 Provincial Growth Plan’s criteria. All of the proper entities were consulted, and those in charge of the Alliston Plan, as it came to be known, saw the need for new schools, a fire department, a hospital for the area to grow properly. Furthermore, the new plans are designed to be “Transit Supportive,” as New Tecumseth does not currently have adequate bussing. Housing is planned for each phase, to help make these services affordable.

“This project will create thousands of man years of construction, and permanent full-time employment,” says Al Duffy, who is in charge of the prospective development. “The plan provides for everything needed to be a Live, Work, Play, Pray and Shop Community.”

His statement goes on to point out that this development will address environmental concerns.

“From an [environmental] point of view, it will allow people to live close to work, and commute by transit rather than driving for an hour each way,” it states.

According to the Alliston Plan, the Growth Plan somewhat recognized that Alliston was a “growth centre,” but froze the urban boundary, halting the city development needed to support the new generation of Alliston residents. As Honda is the major employer for the area, and as the area has not grown to allow services such as health care or schools to be built to service the Alliston community, Honda employees have been forced to live further and further away. The report shows that 95% of Honda employees are forced to live over twenty miles away, and a majority even further. Even more importantly, according to the 2006 census, there were over 19,000 full-time employees in New Tecumseth, but just over 28,800 people. With this imbalance, it was impossible for the region to function as a live-work community.

To settle this issue, the community is calling for a Minister’s Zoning Order, a settlement of the County’s Official Plan for the area. Duffy claims that the area will be home to the “greenest community in Ontario,” and will fulfill the Growth Plan for a location that so badly needs it.