Housing development set for Brussels, Seaforth in 2021
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Huron East Mayor Bernie MacLellan says that while the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to be felt in the municipality, there is plenty to look forward to in 2021.
For the municipality, much of the excitement lies in development, with housing being expanded in both Brussels and Seaforth, as well as the continuation of significant road improvements in Seaforth. MacLellan also said there is a possibility that the renovation and expansion of the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre could move forward this year if a joint provincial/federal grant application is approved.
In Seaforth, MacLellan said, there are several housing development projects underway. If they all move ahead, MacLellan said, they alone could increase the town’s housing stock by 10 per cent, which is a drastic increase in just one year.
He hopes to see developers reach those marks because, he said, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, construction in the town has seen very few hiccups that have held things up.
In Brussels, council is still working on preparing land next to the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre for development. While the municipality has purchased the land and is working to prepare it for development, it will be up to developers to build houses and create subdivisions so the project can move forward.
That project, MacLellan said, unlike the Seaforth developments, has suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, being pushed to the back-burner in recent months until it again becomes a priority.
He’s not sure just how many units could be created in that space, but he said it would certainly be a viable solution for those looking for housing in Huron County – a market that has only heated up over the course of the pandemic.
MacLellan said people are eager to leave heavily-populated cities and work remotely from more rural settings, as they have seen COVID-19 be less prolific in rural settings than urban ones.
He also said there is further development planned for the municipality in the form of further improvements to County Road 12 south of Seaforth and Highway 8 in Seaforth from the town’s traffic lights to the hospital.
He is also very hopeful that the municipality is successful with its multi-million-dollar grant application to the provincial and federal governments for the renovation and expansion of the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre.
Though the process has been slowed as a result of the pandemic, MacLellan remains optimistic. The provincial government has recommended it, for its part of the process, MacLellan said, so now it’s up to the federal government to see the merit in it.
Municipal staff has received several calls from upper-tier levels of government in regards to the application as recent as just before the holiday break, MacLellan said, so he’s hopeful he’ll hear some positive news sooner, rather than later.
As for the current pandemic, MacLellan said the municipality is working through the issues as best it can, with municipal staff trying to be available to residents for their needs, while keeping everyone involved safe.
The driving force behind the municipality’s actions, MacLellan said, has been complying with the direction of the provincial government and Huron Perth Public Health. In addition, he said municipal staff has also been discussing shared issues with neighbouring municipal staff members often for insight into what’s being done throughout the county.