Caivan Housing Development – Survey Results – Part Two

Survey Results – Part Two – Member Survey on Caivan Housing Development (April 2024)

Results and comments from the survey: ‘Future Growth For Perth’
Housing Developments and the Opinion of Perth’s Business Community

Chamber Survey: Grow Perth’s Population To Attract Funding and Keep Taxes Affordable

(Perth) – A majority of local business respondents to a recent survey by the Perth & District Chamber of Commerce say the Town of Perth needs to grow its population and tax base in order for the community to compete for future government funding for schools, daycare, roads, recreation facilities, and a hospital that will need replacement in the future.

Last month, local members of the business community took part in the Chamber survey entitled, ‘Future Growth for Perth – Housing developments and the Opinion of Perth’s Business Community’. The survey focuses on how the proposed Caivan housing development at the Perth Golf Course will impact the local business community in the areas of population growth, housing availability, Perth’s tax base, parking and traffic concerns and the town’s heritage character.

A total of 65% of respondents feel population and tax base growth are needed so the Town can attract government funding for infrastructure, while 12% feel the opposite and 23% are ‘not sure’. Some say more taxpayers are needed just to keep future taxes affordable, and as the Caivan subdivision increases the number of taxpayers, that will help spread costs over a wider population. With increased revenues, the town could provide incentives for small business startups to utilize more of Perth’s business parks.

Housing Needed Across All Demographics

Some of those surveyed caution that population growth needs to be slow and mindful and geared not just to retirees and the area’s older demographic. A range of housing options and prices could provide opportunities for younger demographics to plant roots in the community. While there is extra capacity at present in Perth’s elementary and high schools for families with children, a growing population of all ages will put other pressures on town services, policing, and medical facilities. A total of 60% of respondents feel Perth can’t afford these costs without approving new housing developments.

An opposing view argues that if Perth doesn’t grow, it won’t need more resources: “Small is beautiful, flexible, easier to manage and costs less. Systems are more efficient when they are on a smaller scale.”

Growth in the Business Sector Also Pays Dividends

Alongside population growth, some feel that parallel economic development is just as crucial: “A huge effort needs to be made to attract new businesses to Perth. The possibility of new housing for employees can be attractive if that housing is affordable. New businesses will also contribute to increasing the tax base.”

“With a 4% hike in property taxes, 6% on water, our store leases are next.”

Asked what impact potential future tax increase of 5 to 7 percent in Perth would have on their businesses over the next 5 years, 67% say their business operations would be moderately to severely impacted. 12% say they might need to move their business to another municipality to survive. One suggestion is to spread service costs by amalgamating the four western lower-tier municipalities in Lanark County – Perth, Drummond/North Elmsley, Tay Valley and Lanark Highlands Townships.

“Solve the parking issues first!”

If the Caivan subdivision increases Perth’s population by a third, 67% of respondents think the town won’t have sufficient parking in the commercial areas downtown, on Wilson Street and Highway 7.

The survey spawned many suggestions on how to increase parking capacity in town:

  • Build a new arena and recreation complex at Conlon Farm and use the old property on Beckwith St. to create an underground or multi-level parking structure within easy walking distance to downtown
  • Create a similar parking structure in the Tay Basin where apartment tenants, store owners and employees can park to free-up parking spaces on Gore Street and adjacent downtown streets
  • Partner with downtown churches to share their parking facilities
  • Add bike-safe paths and bike parking to encourage more people to cycle downtown
  • Offer a hop-on, hop-off shuttle bus from lots on Hwy 7 and Conlon Farm during the summer season

Caivan’s Compromise on a Second Bridge will be Welcomed by Members

In a revised concept plan put forward by Caivan last week, the developer announced it would include a second bridge for the subdivision, “recognizing the community’s concerns regarding transportation infrastructure and accessibility.” The concession will be welcomed by Chamber members as a hefty 81% of those surveyed felt it was necessary that an additional bridge be built to alleviate traffic flow concerns on Peter Street and for emergency purposes. A total of 62% were concerned with the gridlock that could ensue using a twined-bridge, single point-of-access on Peter Street – a road that already contends with a very narrow set-back for homes from the roadway. Because of its proximity to downtown however, many believe there will still be strains on Peter Street with increased traffic and noise and back-ups at stoplights at Wilson Street, even with a second access.

Most respondents felt the best location for a new access bridge was along a narrow section of the Tay River behind the Lanark County Building, then to the Christie Lake Road. This route would allow further access to Hwy. 7. Other suggestions included going east through Conlon Farm to the Scotch Line or building a bridge to connect with Leslie Street beside the Metro store.

“Include the public in discussions about their neighbourhood.”

For many, it is essential that the public be included in discussions about neighbourhoods that could be affected by any development. They feel the decision on an access route for the new subdivision needs to be considered as part of a much broader traffic flow plan for a town that currently has just two major east-west corridors. The long-debated ‘Ring Road’ to relieve truck traffic could also be part of that plan.

Further survey results will be distributed in our final upcoming Release Three.

For further information, contact Paloma Zander, Executive Director at: (613-267-3200)