Our Growing Population

Considering Clair Maltby in the South and opportunities for Infill Development – A Challenge, an Opportunity and a problem to solve.


Guelph is required by provincial mandate to accept thousands of new residents by the middle of this century. How will we manage growth? What could we do differently? 

Growth is a problem for Guelph. Guelph embraced the Provincial ‘Places to Grow’ targets and the  Provincial Green Belt – both are commendable and address the reality that more and more our City is becoming a part of the Greater Toronto Area growth ring.

This puts a lot of pressure on Guelph. Inevitably it will lead to significant increases in the cost of housing – both owned and rental. It will also put a lot of pressure on our tax base as we are required to pay for this growth. Our water supply, possibly even the quality of our air, can be affected as pollutants increase in a more densely populated city.

In considering Guelph’s precious water – we are the largest city in Canada on a dedicated spring water system. Consequently the limitations of our water supply dictate what population Guelph can sustain. That is a good thing. Guelph cannot get much larger.

We must grow slowly and not grow too large. Infill buildings and our long term plan for areas -including Clair–Maltby – help us plan for  population growth.  Still, we need more infill in Guelph to ensure we can welcome new residents and properly house those who are currently under-housed. At present Guelph is ahead of its population growth targets so, in my opinion, we have worked well within the Places to Grow principles. 

On a final note: although I am in favour of Two Way All Day GO – and I am sure most people are – we all need to appreciate it creates challenges for plans for housing affordability in Guelph as it creates significant pressures on the housing market. We must honestly embrace a housing strategy that will put cooperative, subsidized and rent geared to income housing in the ground – further we have to stop playing with the definition of “Affordable”. Guelph cannot work on this alone. New housing for lower income residents requires a solid Federal and a Provincial programme. Private developers won’t do it, it is simply too expensive. I will discuss this issue in a future post.