Stephen Stirling, Mississippi Mills’ Town Planner, is a graduate of the University of Waterloo Bachelor of Environmental studies program with a diploma in Urban Planning from Fanshaw College and is a member of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP). He accepted his position in 2008, moving from a job in Renfrew to Mississippi Mills to be closer to his home in west end Ottawa. Mr. Stirling says he has found here a unique community containing a lot of passionate residents with a very independent streak. He finds it exciting to work with and be part of this community.
Getting a handle on development in Mississippi Mills is vital, not only because of provincial requirements but because, as Mr. Stirling notes, with the restriction of the Greenbelt around Ottawa, all of the communities just beyond it are experiencing pressure to grow. As one of those communities, Mississippi Mills is on the cusp of significant growth pressures and it is important to get policies in place.
The town council does not want to see Mississippi Mills become just a suburban bedroom community for commuters to Ottawa. It is working to make the town a place where residents can live, work and play.
A review of the Mississippi Mills Official Plan completed in December 2010 by J.L. Richards and Associates noted that the Official Plan assumes that the Town’s population will increase from 11,650 in 2001 to approximately 18,500 by 2026. This represents a rate of growth of 1.9% per year, or an additional 6,850 persons over the life of the plan. The report notes that factors affecting housing development include declining birth rates, an increase in single, lone parent or childless couple households and a greater number of seniors with fewer of them living in health care institutions.
Mississippi Mills will see an increase in demand for affordable starter homes, such as semis and row dwellings as it will continue to attract and retain young families. As the population ages, there will be a trend to increase the number of single person households and a shift to smaller housing type such as two bedroom single detached bungalows, condos, semis, townhouses and apartment units.
Using an average household size of 2.67 persons per household, the anticipated demand is for a total of 7.064 units by 2031. which translates into an additional 1559 housing units, or an average of 78 units per year over the next 20 years.
Demographics of Mississippi Mills.
The Mississippi Mills website breaks down the current population of the town by age, gender, occupation and education.
Jobs in Mississippi Mills.
The major slice of jobs in Mississippi Mills are available in business services and other services (combined 39%) , followed by heath care and social services (combined 13%). Manufacturing retail trade and construction each comprise 10% of available employment in the town. The majority of residents leave Mississippi Mills to go to work (some 57%), most of these to Ottawa. In 2006, there were 1955 jobs in Mississippi Mills and an employed labour force of 6279 town residents. This means that about 3585 residents were leaving Mississippi Mills to work outside the municipality.
The review assumed there will be a need for 2703 jobs in Mississippi Mills by 2031. When the land use assessment was completed, it concluded that 60 hectares of land were required as employment lands to ensure that Mississippi Mills does not become a bedroom community. The town currently has 64 hectares of employment land available; the majority of these lands are situated along the March and Appleton Side roads, within the downtown core of Almonte and along County Road 29. Currently, lots in the business park are available at a fixed price of $50,000 an acre.
The Community Official Plan in force supports a 50/30/20 settlement strategy. This means that 50% of the future growth would be directed to Almonte on full municipal services, 30% would take place in the rural areas and hamlets on private services and 20% would be reserved for the growth of existing hamlets or new hamlets with a form of servicing to support lots of 1,000-2,000 square metres (1/4-1/2 an acres).
The plan uses the projected population of 18,500 along with the 50/30/20 scenario to estimate that:
• Almonte’s population will increase from 4,650 in 2001 to 8,080 by 2026
• the rural areas and villages will increase from 7,000 in 2001 to 9,050 by 2026
• serviced settlement areas other than Almonte will have a population of 1,370 by 2026.
The review identifies six developers who, at the time of the report, represented the active or planned developments in Mississippi Mills. They are White Tail Ridge Developments with 175 available lots, Logan Heights with 28 available lots, Mill Run (formerly Sadler Estates) with 85 available lots in Phase 1 and 412 available lots in the remaining phases, Riverfront Estates with 344 lots, Almonte Mews with 89 lots and Riverfront Estates with 89 lots. There are therefore 1135 potential lots/units at various stages of planning and development in Mississippi Mills. Mr. Stirling says that it is a challenge to find opportunities for local talent and that much of their effort will be directed to smaller infill projects. Neilcorp, a local developer, makes a point of using local talent and there is an effort to create options for local employment.
New residential development is anticipated to provide 15-35 residential units per gross hectare with between 927 and 2153 lots or units within Almonte. The village areas potentially have 378 lots or units within them.
The Community Official Plan indicates that the Town has established the following housing mix targets:
• Low Density – 70%
• Medium Density – 30%
Low density residential development include single detached, semi-detached, duplex, converted dwellings, and triplex housing. In general, the gross density for low density residential development shall be 15 units per hectare (6 units per acre).
Medium density residential development include four-plex housing, townhouses, 3 storey apartments, converted dwellings of three or more units and similar multi-unit forms of housing. In general, medium density residential development shall have a maximum net density of 35 units per net hectare (15 units per net acre).
The town requires that all medium density residential development proposals address the following criteria:
(i) proximity to shopping, parkland, health care, education and other community amenities;
(ii) compatibility with existing land uses in the immediate area and the historical character of existing buildings;
(iii) designed with a maximum of three (3) stories and where possible, a building profile which conforms visually with the surrounding residential structures;
(iv) availability of adequate off-street parking and appropriate access and circulation for vehicular traffic, including emergency vehicles;
(v) necessary buffering from abutting uses;
(vi) suitable landscaping, lot grading, drainage and on-site amenities; and,
(vii) the availability of full municipal services to accommodate the proposed density of development
While the municipality may agree to share the costs of streets, gutters and water mains, it is the responsibility of the developer to complete and pay for these elements.
The Mississippi Mills Water Supply system is a ground water system consisting of five wells using sodium hypochlorite for disinfection The wells have a combined flow rate of 4788 litres per minute, enough to provide a three year supply of residential units and to support current and projected employment needs. The stronger wells are on the north side of the river, with weaker ones on the south side. If development triggers a need for increased capacity, the developer must pay these costs.
Up until 2012, Almonte was on a lagoon system of sewage treatment. This limited development capacity, but the new sewage treatment plant solves this issue. The costs to build the new sewage treatment plant were divided 1/3 each among federal, provincial and municipal jurisdictions. Developers did not contribute to the cost of the plant.
Mill Run has now received draft approval for just over 200 lots and is projecting 501 dwelling units, a combination of singles, seniors, townhouses and stacked townhouses. Phase 1 has a maximum of 93 units
Creekside, a 31 unit infill subdivision on Adelaide street is being developed and built by Neilcorp.
White Tail Ridge is a multi phased subdivision of single family homes. It has an unusual hybrid sewage system with a sewage system and holding tank. The holding tank is emptied periodically by municipal services and it goes to the new sewage plant for treatment. A special tax levy is tied to the property because of the municipal pump and the holding tank. DCR Pheonix is the only builder. There are 175 lots to be developed through 3 phases.
Riverfront Estates is a 5 phase subdivision developed by Houchaimi Holding Inc. which is currently going to stage 3 of its development plan. Neilcorp is the developer for phases 1 and 2 and the developer is looking for a new builder for phase 3.
Hyde Park is developing a 31 unit life lease building at the corner of Jamieson and Perth Streets
Almonte Mews is a 90-91 unit townhouse development on Country Street The first block of units have been sold and the second block is under construction.
The Mike Coady Subdivision is developing Logan Heights consisting of 21 lots (13 single, 3 semi(6 units) and 1 Townhouse (3 units). A show home has been built on one lot. the Plan is currently registered
Bruce Baird is developing an 18 unit 3 story apartment building at the corner of St Andrew and Almonte Streets. He currently has site plan approval.
Hillcrest Development is developing 5 lots in Lubber Subdivision. The draft plan has been approved and the developer is clearing conditions and close to registration.
Click on Illustrations of land use in Mississippi Mills to see graphs of current and future development.
Click here to see the Mississippi Mills Official Plan.