Campaign Encourages Community to Envision More Housing Options

Posted On Thursday March 24, 2022

WELLINGTON COUNTY – As with many communities across Ontario, Wellington County is at a crisis point when it comes to having the rental and ownership housing options that are necessary to sustain the region’s changing needs and required growth.

By 2051, provincial legislation requires the County to reach a population of at least 160,000 people and provide at least 70,000 jobs. Having enough housing to accommodate this growth is key.

This week the County launched a community awareness campaign aimed at furthering public understanding of the range of options that can be considered to meet these needs.

Already, the situation is critical: the median home price in Centre Wellington has increased more than 235 per cent in five years, significantly higher than income growth over that period. At least 40 per cent of people who rent in Wellington County need to spend more than the recommended 30 per cent of their income on housing. In some cases, this means going without enough food or other basic needs.

“From new residents to longtime members of our community, we’re hearing from people who are considering moving away to find more affordable housing. We’re hearing from others who can’t leave their parents’ home despite having their own young families, and from seniors who need to downsize and can’t find any place to go,” said Warden Kelly Linton.

He said businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to attract or keep good workers because people can’t find an affordable place to live.

“These are the people we need to provide our health care, child or senior care, to fill good jobs at growing manufacturing businesses or in the cafes and restaurants that are vital contributors to our economy and our communities. If these essential jobs go unfilled, or if workers are under extreme stress, it affects all of us” said Jana Burns, Wellington Place Administrator, Museum, Archives and Economic Development.

The campaign, titled Make Wellington County Home – Everyone should be able to live here, will share stories from people and businesses that are struggling to find housing that meets their needs, and provide examples and facts about the range of rental or ownership options available to communities to add choice and affordability. These include low-rise apartment or condominium buildings, row and stacked townhouses, duplexes or triplexes and even tiny homes.

Another option that is growing in popularity across Ontario is Additional Residential Units or ARUs: second or third suites such as converted basements, garage additions, laneway homes or other separate housing options on existing properties that add to the rental inventory.

“The municipalities in Wellington County have included allowances for ARUs in their bylaws, creating a new opportunity for individual homeowners to help solve a community problem while earning rental income,” said Burns, noting that interested homeowners should consult their local building department for details about allowance in their municipality.

Over the past year, Burns said County staff have met with several developers who express a willingness to build different forms of housing if there is community will and interest in these options.

The public awareness campaign will run through 2022 and invites people to visit the County’s website at, download a flyer they can share with friends and neighbours as well as attend open houses planned for later this year.

“We can’t keep on doing what we’ve been doing, which is primarily building single detached homes when there are many options available that will bring us closer to a solution. Our community needs to endorse other housing options in their neighbourhoods. That’s the only way we’ll overcome this.”


Media Contact:

Jana Burns,
Wellington Place Administrator, Museum, Archives and Economic Development.
T: 1.519.846.0916 x5222

© 2023 County of Wellington, 74 Woolwich St. Guelph, Ontario N1H 3T9, T 519.837.2600, TF 1.800.663.0750, F 519.837.1909