Written by Peter Daoust
The city of Hamilton is only sixty-five or so miles away as is the city of London, from the other direction, so how far out in the sticks can it really be? Well, consider this – there are no major highways servicing it.
Driving south from the city of Ingersoll you really have to wonder if you are actually ever going to make it there. Up and down valleys and past miles and miles of fields and lush towering forests. At times it’s all so difficult to really believe that this type of raw vegetation even exists in Southern Ontario. Road signs are far and few between and filling stations are a rarity. If you find yourself driving your car on less than a quarter tank of gas you may be in for a worry. After twisting and turning for miles and miles, you finally do end up near the shores of Northern Lake Erie.
What finally emerges, if you are lucky enough to be straight on course for The Villages of Long Point Bay, is the outline of a great big sheltered bay accented with a couple of quaint little boat marinas. Up then, one sweep around a shoreline curve and you will suddenly find yourself in plunk in the middle of the Village of Port Rowan. Two pizza shops, a bank, a Foodland, a lawyers office, a Post Office, a Real Estate Office, a few restaurants and some summer craft shops and that’s about it!
Well, actually there may be a little bit more in the way of services but not much more. In a wonderful kind of way its sort of like discovering a mini Rhode Island or the setting perhaps found in the famous movie “The Summer of 1942”.
Then, just down the road can be found a project known as “The Villages of Long Point Bay”. Almost 300 new condo units nestled around a functional clubhouse with an indoor pool in what really is, in so many ways once again, an out in the-middle-of-nowhere location. Forget being close to a shopping mall, a Tim Hortons or a hospital!
Tidy rows and rows of attractive one floor condos with front porches – an “adult retirement lifestyle community”, nestled near the waters of Lake Erie.
Now for a question : Why would any developer ever take on such a massive plunge and tackle such a big project with no real assurances that retirees would ever be accepting of such an out of the way, off the beaten track location? We are not afterall, talking about a location like The Muskokas or Lagoon City on eastern side of Lake Simcoe. In trying to research the logic behind such a project, I stumbled across The Norfolk Official Plan and related materials. In a report labeled “Market and Economic Opportunity Forecasts for Growth and Settlement” prepared by N.Barry Lyon Consultants Ltd., March 1, 2007, the following points were made:
1- “The distinguishable variations in the physical features of the Lake Erie shoreline, from picturesque rolling hills and shoreline cliffs, to traditional sandy beaches, set the local landscape apart from alternative Ontario waterfront destinations”
2-The market for lifestyle communities along the Provinces’ shoreline and lakes has grown tremendously in the last five to ten years. This is evident in the success of such developments as Loka Bay (Thornbury), Meneset on The Lake (Goderich), Grand Cove (Grand Bend), Sandy Cove Acres (Innisfill), The Village of Keeper’s Cove (Georgian Bay) and Wellington on The Lake (Prince Edward County). This is also evident in the growing success of The Villages of Long Point Bay in Port Rowan. At the same time, opportunities for new home development are becoming rarer due to servicing and policy restrictions.
3-The Ontario Government forecasts indicate that there will be 2,052,000 seniors and mature adults in the Southern Ontario market by 2025, of which approximately 650,000 will reside in the Greater Toronto Area (G.T.A). A significant number of seniors in the G.T.A. will have significant assets and will be able to afford to move to a lifestyle /retirement community.
4-This area will be affected by “the spill over of growth from the City of Hamilton, Brantford, Mississauga, Brampton and the Western G.T.A area”.
What all of this really means is that many of the small villages and towns along the northern shorelines of Lake Erie could be poised for major transformation going forward.
What a positive report by a forward thinking consulting firm.
Now for one final thought. I wrote a blog back on Aug 10th 2010 entitled “The Condo Market in St Thomas is Perhaps Not What You Expect!” which further addresses the new emerging condo demand side of this equation. Condo living for active or semi active retirees is now very much the norm.
In summary, “The Villages of Long Point Bay” is perhaps not what you would expect. What a beautiful section of our north/central Lake Erie shoreline and what a wonderful place for all so many lucky retirees to call home.