WINDSOR -- The Town of Tecumseh is looking ahead a decade as it contemplates a new official plan to guide growth and development in the municipality.

The draft plan – presented to council at a special meeting Tuesday night – consolidates the town’s previous plan, which included three former municipalities of Tecumseh, St. Clair Beach and Sandwich South, into a single document.

"We’ve got bits and pieces here but its one town under one roof. And basically you want to make it as non-complex as possible,” said Gary McNamara after the meeting.

Some of the key issues identified in the draft plan include expanding employment lands in Oldcastle, intensification of new development, preserving natural heritage and also the addition of affordable housing.

“We’ve noticed the last three to four years for first time homeowners it’s becoming unreachable in terms of buying homes,” McNamara said. “If buying is not an option for some then maybe we’ve got to look at rentals and housing and expanding the type of housing that’s going to be required.”

Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara

As part of the draft document, Tecumseh is looking at ensuring 20 per cent of all new housing is considered affordable.

“We say affordable housing; I say attainable housing. I think it’s important to meet the provincial policy and I think it’s very clear that’s a necessity,” said McNamara.

The growth projections for Tecumseh over the next five years assumes 100 new housing units per year – with that number expected to grow beyond 200 units per year by 2032.

Because of that amount of growth, McNamara says the town must also consider storm water management issues and land-use guidelines to ensure smart development.

“It’s basically how we continue to develop our communities moving forward from today and I and making sure whatever we do, it’s sustainable,” he said.

The plan will be reviewed by council on March 24 ahead of public open houses in April.

“This is the beginning. It’s a process that we’ve accumulated a lot of information through administration and now it’s coming out to the community,” McNamara said.

Following consultations with the First Nations and Metis communities, another formal public meeting will take place in May. The final official plan is expected to be ready for adoption by July.

“We’ve got probably four months to put this thing together,” McNamara said, adding, “I think that a lot of work has been done but there’s still quite a bit to go yet,” he said.