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02 Feb 2017 11:07 PM | Web Master (Administrator)


1. Event Background and Description

On Saturday, October 8 at 4:00PM, the Southampton Residents Association held a Fall Open House at the Bruce County Museum in Southampton, ON. The event was open to both its members and any residents of the community of Southampton. As part of the event, an hour-long discussion was facilitated by Brooks Turton and Jackie Serviss regarding current and future housing needs in the community of Southampton. Attendance was strong at approximately 80 individuals and the attendees were split into two groups. Each group was given the same six themes linked to current and future housing needs and asked for their feedback. At the end of the hour-long discussion, each attendee was given an opportunity to also provide feedback on the facilitation and the process.

This report includes the original themes that guided the discussion, an executive summary, and a summary of feedback collected regarding the facilitation and the process. The report also contains an appendix with all notes, discussions and feedback broken down by theme.

2. Discussion Themes

Prior to the event, the facilitators solicited feedback from various community members to create a list of themes to help guide the discussion. An amount of time was also given for Open Discussion to ensure feedback outside of one of the themes was still gathered. The themes to help guide the discussion included:

  1. Adult Lifestyle Retiree Looking to Downsize

  2. Single Family Residence Clusters

  3. Housing for the Next Generation

  4. Waterfront

  5. Aging in Place

  6. Open Discussion

3. Executive Summary

Affordability is the most important item discussed during the session. The attendees do not believe current housing prices are affordable and are trending in the wrong direction. With the continued expansion of Bruce Power and with the attractiveness of Southampton as a retirement community and summer cottage haven, housing demand will continue to outpace supply. Prices across all segments or themes will continue to increase and affordability will worsen unless changes are made. Feedback on Affordability came up for virtually every theme for both groups.

The adult lifestyle retiree discussion theme gathered the most interest from the group, given the demographic of the attendees. A new development on Grey Street South is being built with the retiree in mind and this was discussed in both breakout groups in detail. It is felt this is the type of development that will flourish in the town and its increase in retirees looking to downsize, however, many attendees believe the location to be less than ideal. After affordability, location seems to be the second most important factor regarding housing in Southampton. Locations in the highest demand are those west of Highway 21 and with close proximity to the amenities of High St. Land to build such a development close to the downtown core either does not exist or may be too expensive to develop.

Another common topic was Communal Living or Co-Housing Developments, which are new and innovative ideas for cost effective living. Based on a European model, these have common living spaces shared by multiple residents that drive ownership costs down and increase the sense of community. These types of developments seem to be attractive for the reason of affordability but also due to the idea of supporting one another. As they age, individuals want to be in proximity to those like them to be able to support each other.

Lastly, keeping the uniqueness and charm of Southampton is important to the attendees. Feedback was consistent across all five themes and in the open discussion that without the proper bylaws or controls, the uniqueness of Southampton is at risk. From oversized cottages on the waterfront to poorly controlled commercial zoning on Highway 21 to improper sidewalk and parkland allotment in new subdivisions; control is needed to protect the town’s heritage.

4. Summary of Event Feedback

Some Attendees took the opportunity to provide feedback on the venue. There were a lot of common themes and they are summarized here:

  •   They appreciated the event and the opportunity or forum to voice their opinions

  •   Would like to see more events like this put on by the SRA

  •   Need more engagement between SRA and Saugeen Shores town council to foster appropriate action

  •   The timing of this venue is an opportunity; Future events should be in the summer to increase attendance

  •   The venue would be improved by breaking into smaller groups in separate rooms to stimulate conversation

    and improve the ability for all to hear each idea. 

    Appendix - Summary of All Comments By Theme


    Theme 1:

    Adult Lifestyle Retiree Looking to Downsize

    1. Location was most important factors in both groups

      1. West of 21 and close proximity to High St

      2. Want to be close to downtown for local shopping

    2. Four Unit Townhouses built on Cedar Bush are highly favourable

    a. Quality, Size, Location West of 21

    1. New 50+ Unit Development on Grey St S between Spence and Peel

      1. Location less desirable

      2. This type of development meeting location criteria would be very popular

      3. Not enough crossing for walkers across 21 (only Morpeth south of High St)

    2. Freehold or Condo style are both of interest

    a. Monthly Condo Fee for lawn care and snow removal important to some

    1. First Floor Accessible – wider door ways

    2. Affordability was discussed across all themes

    a. $300-350K discussed as an affordable range

    1. Communal Living / Co-Housing

      1. Multi-Floor Complex with Common Living on each floor

      2. Discussed in both break-out groups

      3. Commercial on 1st floor – i.e. grocery/restaurant/convenience

      4. Example on west coast is Sooke, BC

    2. Renting – people very open to renting as it meets affordability criteria

    Theme 2:

    Single Family Residence Clusters (i.e. Creekwood Subdivision)

    1. Affordability is a real concern in the Creekwood area ($400K+)

    2. For future development don’t want “cookie cutter” with properties on top of each other

      1. Don’t want the feel of a “ghetto”

      2. Reid’s in Port Elgin Or New Development in the City of Milton

    3. Feel of Community in these clusters is very important

      1. Aging Population – want to take care of each other

      2. Community Center within the cluster are great

      3. Dedicated transportation to downtown or shopping for those who can’t drive

    4. More Dedicated Parkland is needed for future development

    5. Traffic Flow – designed to ensure inclusion of non-residents

    6. Some prefer the mixed housing feel and simple streets of non-clustering

    7. New development need to be more pedestrian and cycling friendly

      1. More Sidewalks and/or wider sidewalks

      2. The trails (the Shore Path between South St & Port Elgin, the Path along beach

        between Gerry’s Fries and the Flag and the Rail Trail) are extremely important

    8. Environmental Protection

      1. Natural habitat should remain and be improved upon

      2. No bylaws restricting tree removal or encouraging growth

    Theme 3:

    Housing for Next Generation

    1. Affordability was first item brought up in both groups

    2. For permanent residents, jobs are a concern (outside of Bruce Power)

    3. Communal Facilities are opportunity for permanent residents

    a. Medical and Hospital

    b. Schools
    4. Taxes – are not, but should be proportional to market value

    1. Lots are zoned too big relative to building size

      1. Should sub-divide existing lots for intensification of area close to High St

      2. Set-backs don’t support intensification for small lots close to High St

      3. Bylaw restricting multiple dwellings on a single lot don’t support intensification

    2. Rentals don’t exist

    Theme 4:

    Waterfront (i.e. Existing, Future Development, Controls or No Controls)

    1. More Development Rules are needed for Waterfront properties before permit

      1. Monsters are driving up taxes of existing properties

      2. No designation or incentive to keep heritage feel of older smaller cottages

      3. New permit applications for waterfront cottages need to go through more

        screening. Review set-backs, height and width restrictions as well as potential

        view obstruction

    2. Waterfront properties are only Affordable for a very small minority

    3. Control - No new commercial development on waterfront

    4. Control - No parking lots, hotels or condos on waterfront

    5. Review quality of maintenance on waterfront from a safety perspective

    Theme 5:

    Aging in Place (i.e. Independent Living to Long term Care)

    1. Affordability

    1. No “Continuum of Care” Facility

      1. Tiered Lifestyle based on Needs

      2. Condo (Independent) -> Nursing Care -> Long Term Care

      3. Example: Tansley Woods in Burlington

      4. Example: Collingwood

    2. Lack of Public Transit

      1. From facility to shopping/amenities

      2. Golf cart paths

      3. Summer trolley between Southampton and Port Elgin was a success

    3. Co-Housing / Communal Living discussion again similar to theme #1

      1. Sooke, BC

      2. European Model

      3. Example: 4 parties in 1 unit – common kitchen/living and private bedroom and bathroom


    Other Discussion Comments

    1. Empty lot prices have soared and new construction is not affordable

    2. 66% of Southampton is still seasonal

    3. Need an economic development strategy that is not reliant on Bruce Power

    4. A future balance between existing cottages and new towns/condos is important

    5. Developers currently do not ask the community for ideas on future development

    6. Highway 21: Improve Corridor between High Street and South Street

      1. Blend of Condos/Commercial/Aging/Recreation

      2. Control Commercial

    7. Currently a 1 year waiting list for Affordable Housing

    8. SRA must continue to ensure the “Uniqueness” of Southampton is maintained

    9. Don’t feel current Saugeen Shores building plan matches needs of Southampton

    10. Rules are needed for Short-term rentals (Air BnB)

    11. TaskForceshouldbeset-upforpre-approvalofallbuildingsinSouthamptonpriorto permitting

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