What is a Sustainable Population for Simcoe County?

Leticia L. Essay Submission – 3rd Place Winner.

A haven to vast forests, far-reaching farmlands, and surging rivers, Simcoe County is engulfed by its wide range of resources. It is a distinct region that is notable for its agricultural and urban practices. To sustain these vital resources and maintain the integrity of the land, the county must take into account the population aspect.   As the population expands, an increased quantity of renewable and non-renewable resources will be utilized. To ensure sustainability, a population peak of 560,000 can be supported by Simcoe County’s geographic scope.  Subsequently, measures including the usage of eco-friendly sources, conservation of watersheds, and mitigation efforts should be enacted. Planning Simcoe County’s resources and land use certifies that the region can thrive under considerable population growth.

Similar to most regions, Simcoe County faces developmental pressures due to a population influx. A larger populace requires land-use planning, watersheds, green spaces, and other assets. Governmental plans typically address concerns about urban environments in contrast to smaller towns. These plans fail to consider the ecological aspect of Simcoe County and its capacity for sustainable living. Currently, the population is approximately 357,000 according to 2021 records. The proposed population size of 560,000 references the Simcoe County 2051 forecast. It is predicted that the region’s inhabitants will drastically increase by 55%. Although this is an immense shift, several factors will warrant sustainability. With green spaces, fresh-water sources, and effective maneuver of agricultural spaces, Simcoe County can support its residents. In terms of farmland, it is essential to promote preservation efforts. A balance between residential, green, and rural areas advocates for food security and efficient  developmental growth without depleting resources. In substance, this fosters ecological stability in a greater population.

Within Simcoe County, climate change is a prevalent issue that affects developmental growth. It hinders sustainability efforts and produces obstacles for a population. Simcoe County is subjected to annual severe storms, winds, and flooding which inflict harm on townships. Additionally, there is an inflation of carbon emission levels in the region. In order to sustain a population of 560,000, Simcoe County can combat the climate crisis through mitigation processes. A larger population requires an increased quantity of energy harvested from both renewable and nonrenewable sources. To achieve green standards, Simcoe County can manage a transfer to renewable energy and preserve its vast resources. These energy sources consist of solar, wind, and hydropower. Solar panels are deemed as efficient sources and can be installed on rooftops of residential, educational, and recreational buildings. In 2015, the Simcoe County District School Board initiated a project to incorporate solar panels on roofs of 27 educational institutions. Likewise, this demonstrates that solar energy can be a reliable substitute for non-renewable resources. Furthermore, hydro-power is a dependable energy source within Simcoe County and overall Ontario. The hydraulic fleet of Ontario contains 66 stations and 241 dam systems province-wide. In sum, hydro-power harnessed 32.8  terawatts of power in 2020. Essentially, one terawatt has the potential to power 200,000 residential homes which indicates the sufficiency of renewable energy. These sources are capable of alleviating the strain of the climate crisis and in turn, support a population influx of 560,000 in Simcoe County.

Moreover, Simcoe County is situated in a geographical region where watersheds are an  eminent source. Watersheds are crucial resources that aid industries, agriculture, and supply drinking water. In particular, the Lake Simcoe watershed extends for 3,400 square kilometres and is correlated with several waterways. It sustains 45 0,000 residents within the region while allocating land toward both agricultural and recreational purposes. A population of 560,000 would benefit from the natural resources offered by the Lake Simcoe watershed. Positive effects include robust soil, plentiful livestock, freshwater streams, and groundwater. These fulfill the needs of a population by enabling the cultivation of land which leads to food affluence. Therefore Simcoe County can be inhabitable for a growing quantity of individuals. However, watersheds must be safeguarded to remain effective in a given community. Conservation ensures that a watershed can sustain multiple regions within Simcoe County and continues to serve as a fundamental resource.

Featuring expansive woodlands, waterways, and natural energy sources, Simcoe County is  home to a variety of resources. Its geographic location is surrounded by agricultural soils and the Lake Simcoe watershed which streams into numerous bodies of water. Between 2021 and 2051, it is estimated that the current population of Simcoe County will gradually increase. This indicates that the land can manage a certain amount of individuals without depletion. Overall, a population of 560,000 can be proposed. The resources of the area will support the stated population size in a sustainable manner. In addition, mitigation of climate change and conservation can further promote livability in Simcoe County. Ultimately, Simcoe County is able to sustain the proposed population if its resources are regulated proficiently.


“Benefits of Healthy Watersheds.” Conservation Halton https://www.conservationhalton.ca/benefits-of-healthy-watersheds .

Butts, Heather. “SCDSB Installs Solar Panels at Schools and Creates New Learning Experience.” CTV News , CTV News Barrie, 22 May 2015,  https://barrie.ctvnews.ca/scdsb-installs-solar-panels-at-schools-and-creates-new-learning-experience-1.2386843 .

“Community Data and Reports.” County of Simcoe https://www.simcoe.ca/dpt/scs/community-data-and-reports#ui-id-1 .

Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. “Census Profile, 2016 Census Simcoe, County [Census Division], Ontario and Ontario [Province].” Census Profile, 2016 Census – Simcoe, County [Census Division], Ontario and Ontario [Province], 9 Aug. 2019,  https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/dp-pd/prof/details/page.cfm .

“Growth Information.” County of Simcoe , https://www.simcoe.ca/dpt/pln/growth.

“Hydroelectric Power.” Ontario Power Generation , 10 Aug. 2021,  https://www.opg.com/powering-ontario/our-generation/hydro/ .

“Municipal Comprehensive Review.” County of Simcoe , Hemson and Laura Taylor Designs, 14 Oct. 2021, https://www.simcoe.ca/Planning/Pages/MCR.aspx .

“Our Watershed.” Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority https://www.lsrca.on.ca/our-watershed .

“Population.” Canadians for a Sustainable Society https://www.sustainablesociety.com/population#.YXxqhWBKiUk .

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