I won’t pretend to claim I fully understand the official community plan (OCP) issues, and frankly my cynical mind tells me that taxpayers have limited if any influence on elected politicians hard bent on going forward with what they and their friends see as good for the rest of us regardless of our views.
That said, I want to share our experience over the last nine days in the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario and in particular the area around Cambridge.
It has been nearly two years since we were able to visit family and friends in the area due to COVID and while we were aware the area – with which we are vary familiar having lived here most of our lives – was undergoing change, what we have experienced this trip is mind-blowing.
Housing is being built on every bare piece of land it seems.
What was farmland has been stripped away to build acres and acres of single-family, semi-detached, townhouses and other multi-family residences. Land that is not yet being built on has been stripped of the forests and other green spaces. The east side of Cambridge is now about 2 km further to the east of what it was two years ago, as is the south side.
Traffic in the region is just mind-boggling. It is a race from traffic light to traffic light or a major challenge with the traffic circles to safely transit them. Of course, there are other considerations.
A member of the family who is a teacher is in a school that was built just two years ago and has 10 portable classrooms. She reported another school in the district opened with six portables.
No new hospitals have been built in the region. Cambridge Memorial was renovated over the last five years but capacity is challenged we are told.
Average one-bedroom rents are $1,450 and a two-bedroom is $1,700 and climbing.
There are consequences to growth. Make no mistake about it.