The Kingston area’s population took a big jump last year during the height of the pandemic. Over 3,000 people moved to the Limestone City.
While population growth can be good in some aspects, it can lead to growing pains in other areas.
Kingston is building new housing across the city, as the demand for more places to live increases.
That demand is fuelled by population growth across Kingston’s “census metropolitan area,” which includes smaller surrounding communities like South Frontenac and Amherstview.
“I think that the growth we’re experiencing now is the new normal that Kingston is going to see for years to come,” Kingston Mayor, Bryan Paterson said.
But where are all these new arrivals coming from?
Matt Lee, a Kingston real estate broker, says Ottawa and Toronto residents are moving to places like Kingston, where the cost of living is lower. But that’s just part of the story.
“I’ve seen people come from the U.K., I’ve seen people come from the States. But we do see Toronto and Ottawa, people coming from larger centres that do want a little bit of a slower pace, but still want access to all the amenities,” Lee said.
Just as important as where they’re from, is who is coming. According to the city’s population stats, a lot of them are retiring seniors or students.
Kingston’s Chamber of Commerce hopes that future growth will also help with the region’s shortage of workers.
“Post-secondary students staying here and capturing some of those jobs would be fabulous,” said Karen Cross of the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce. “We’re working towards those ends to help alleviate some of the challenges we are facing in the workforce.”
And then there is the question of whether enough new homes can be built fast enough for all these new arrivals.
“We need more land for new housing and new businesses,” Paterson said. “I think we’re going to have to have conversations as a council in the next few months about, What does that look like?”
And what does the metropolitan area of Kingston look like in the long run? While businesses may prosper with more workers and customers, those new arrivals, and long-time residents alike just might find Kingston a little more crowded in the years to come.