Census Numbers

New census numbers out today show Barrie is growing slower than we were in the past.

At 5.9% growth in 5 years, the Barrie CMA is still the 5th fastest growing CMA in Ontario, but we are not growing anywhere near as quickly as we did in the past.  This is good.  Barrie grew so quickly in the late 90s and early part of the last decade that we could not keep up with the demand for growth – our shortage of family doctors, our traffic issues in the south end, our backlog of road repairs are all symptoms of growth that was just too fast.

I’ve often said that Barrie needs what I call “Goldilocks growth” – not too fast, not too slow – which to me is about 1.5% to 2.0% annually.  That’s a pace of population growth that we can keep up with, where services can be provided for people as they come to Barrie.  It also means more customers for Barrie businesses and a growing base of labour for our manufacturers and others to expand.

The story of Barrie since World War Two has been phenominal growth.  We are probably entering a period of more modest growth, and that’s a very good thing – we need to grow slower and smarter than we have in the past.

About jefflehman
Jeff Lehman is the 46th Mayor of the City of Barrie. The Ward 2 Councillor for the City of Barrie from 2006 to 2010, he was the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Council, chaired the City’s Growth Management Working Group, and created the Historic Neighbourhoods project, a new initiative to protect and revitalize Barrie’s oldest neighbourhoods. Jeff has lived in Barrie for most of his life, having grown up in Allandale and attended Barrie Central Collegiate. Jeff holds a B.A. from Queen’s University, and a Master’s Degree with first class honours from the UK’s prestigious London School of Economics. He was hired to teach at the LSE following his graduation, and lived and worked in London for two years as an academic. Since that time, as an economist, he has worked with cities across Canada to manage redevelopment and invest in their urban infrastructure. In 2005, he established the Growing By Degrees Task Force to assist in expanding university education opportunities in Barrie, and has volunteered his time with many organizations in the City. Jeff lives near Downtown Barrie with his wife, Jennifer, a part-time professor of political science, and their young daughter Cassie, who is already smarter than her father.

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