Many will say that the City of Cornwall has been around 47,000 residents for as long as they can remember.
This City Council has chosen to make population growth a strategic priority over the next four years. There are benefits to being a growing city, particularly when it comes to the local economy.
Cornwall needs more workers if it is going to grow economically. Despite recent closures of three employers in the City of Cornwall, there are still many jobs available for those willing to take them.
We’ve previously reported that Olymel has a program where it temporarily will bus in new employees to Cornwall from Montreal. Also, I believe that Walmart Logistics is always searching for more help at their operations in Cornwall.
I believe that Cornwall has two main strategies that it can pursue if the city wants to grow its population. The good news is that these strategies depend on assets that Cornwall already has and all that is required is a little investment in marketing them properly.
First of all, Cornwall is already an affordable community to live in. Our hydro costs are much cheaper especially when compared to our neighbouring rural areas. A weakness I believe Cornwall is facing is a lack of housing, affordable or otherwise.
According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, Cornwall has seen an 8.5 per cent increase in home sales in 2019 from the previous year. With the demand for homes on the rise, so is the price of homes.
Over the summer, Cornwall administration floated the idea of exploring short-term affordable housing to help attract workers to the city and give them time to get on their feet. I think that the City of Cornwall should also meet with developers and explore options on how to encourage more residential construction.
I know that when developmental charges were introduced, some contractors warned that these charges would lead to a reduction in the number of homes built.
Perhaps it is time to open those books and see if that is the case?
Cornwall also has the advantage of being an attractive community for immigrants.
Along with the affordability of living in Cornwall, the City also is close to other major city centres, which can be advantageous to those who wish to commute, or those who are looking to move, but don’t want to be too far from family.
Cornwall also has a strong bilingual heritage that would be attractive to French speakers.
As recently as this month, members of the French community in Cornwall met at City Hall to discuss ways to encourage Francophone immigration to the City.
Cornwall is positioned strongly to grow, but this is still an issue which should be treated with some urgency.
I feel that the City should direct its Economic Development Department to formulate a 10-year plan for population growth in Cornwall. As it stands now, Cornwall likely won’t breach 50,000 people until well into the 2030s. Cornwall has a meticulous plan to manage the develop the waterfront lands, why not have a meticulous plan, with clear performance indicators, for population growth in Cornwall.
What do you think readers? What can Cornwall do to grow its population? Email me a Letter to the Editor at email@example.com