© Guardian photo
Stratford is the fastest growing community in P.E.I. and Mayor Dave Dunphy hopes to see that growth continue.
Speaking to a meeting of the Charlottetown Rotary Club this week Dunphy said the population of the bedroom community has grown by 40 per cent in the last 15 years.
He said there are a number of reasons for that growth, which began to accelerate when the Hillsborough Bridge was expanded from two lanes to four in 1998.
“People like Stratford’s proximity to Charlottetown but they also like the fact that Stratford still has a quiet rural feel,” Dunphy said.
Lower taxes also have drawing power.
With the kind of growth Stratford has experienced comes challenges.
One of the challenges Stratford faces is trying to attract development without compromising the quiet, peaceful nature of the community.
Dunphy, who only became mayor in last fall’s municipal election, told Rotarians the prime area for development in Stratford at this time is the former Southport Motel property.
But the municipality is wrestling with the kind of development that should go there.
A number of proposals have been brought forth but in the end he expects there will likely be a mix of commercial property, services, housing and green space.
"We want development but we also want to maintain heritage areas and culture." Stratford Mayor David Dunphy
Three businesses recently announced plans to set up in town: a gas station, a new grocery store and the House of Excellence.
Dunphy said there has also been some discussion about the possibility of a new provincial museum being built in that location.
As to what the residents of Stratford would like to see, he said some have voiced the desire to see Stratford create new walking trails and recreational areas.
“We will work on that.”
One of the immediate priorities for Stratford is the development of a sustainability plan.
“We want to develop a sustainability plan that addresses the social, physical and spiritual needs of the town,” Dunphy said. “We want development but we also want to maintain heritage areas and culture. Our ethnic community is growing and we need to meet their needs as well...And we must protect our natural environment as well.”
Dunphy said sustainability is a key word when trying to attract development because they want to attract businesses that 20 years down the road will still be there.
During that same meeting club members approved a donation of $13,000 for Camp Gencheff.
The club is a longtime supporter of the camp.