We were happy to see a report from Sustainable Propserity, an offshoot organization from the University of Ottawa, lay out an argument about what sprawl really costs. More importantly, it showcased how we can move towards better solutions for growth that preserve farms, greenspaces and financial stability of our communities and families.
One of the main problems facing Springwater and small rural townships like it is how do they grow sustainably while increasing their tax base. First, we must recognize that sprawl doesn’t pay for itself. The mass amounts of infrastructure that needs to be created and then maintained simply becomes a financial burden. In fact, the report outlines that London, Ontario discovered that if they curbed their sprawl developments and focused more on placing growth within existing areas, they would save roughly $44 BILLIION over 50 years. Now that’s what we call smart growth. Why opt for growth that is going to cost more than it will make?
Second, to address more rural communities who generally have more spread out and inefficiently planned neighbourhoods the idea was presented to loosen bylaws that would increase density in existing communities without the expense and hassles of planning new neighbourhoods. Ideas that have worked well in other communities include encouraging granny flats or in law suits, allowing outbuildings or second dwellings on large lots and making it easier to sever large lots. These actions would increase the efficiency of the neighbourhood, increase the tax revenue with minimal impact to the community and its taxpayers bills.
There are many other ideas within the document and we encourage you to read it. Visit: thecostofsprawl.com. So do you think growth and preservation can co-exist?