Lanark County to retain 99 Christie Lake Road for its own future development

99 Christie Lake Road, Perth
The four-acre property sought by a housing cooperative for affordable housing will be retained by Lanark County. The area is highlighted on this map of the approximate 40 acres of land owned by the county. Photo credit: Submitted [Lanark County]
Posted on: April 11, 2024

Affordable housing pitch for this 4-acre plot is dismissed


A four-acre plot of land owned by Lanark County that was pitched by an independent group as prime real estate for an affordable housing development will be retained by the county.

Linden Housing Co-op spoke at the March 13 meeting of county council, as they wanted to build 80 units of co-operative housing on the plot of land that were affordable and environmentally sustainable. The land is owned by the county and located in Tay Valley Township. 

During a regular corporate services committee meeting on April 10, the chief administrative officer, Kurt Greaves, recommended that council retain the lands for their own future development – be that the county building, located on one side of the plot of land, or Lanark Lodge, which is located on the other side. It was also recommended that staff investigate all other possible municipal and provincial properties for affordable housing development.

Coun. Rob Rainer (Tay Valley Township Reeve), said he understood the recommendation from staff, “but I am feeling, once again, a tremendous amount of frustration with the process that we seem to be following sometimes.”

99 Christie Lake Road
Photo credit: Submitted [Lanark County].

Rainer said they listened to a recent request from delegates to have this parcel of land gifted to them at a cost of $1 for an 80-unit affordable housing building , and “prior to that, they’d done a ton of work in scoping this out, including having met with county staff who apparently indicated that this could be possible.”

Rainer said the group had also raised $30,000 for a feasibility study, knowing this land wasn’t a guarantee for the housing project. He said he felt the process could have been better to alleviate some of the work done on this site by this group. 

“I’m concerned about the process,” he said. “I don’t know how to address it but I don’t think it was very fair for the people behind that housing development.”

He suggested that staff could have “nipped it in the bud” earlier by informing the group that the county wanted to hold onto the land. “Then they could have adjusted, which they are probably going to have to do and look at other possibilities.”

This staff recommendation was unanimously supported by council. 

Coun. Richard Kidd (Beckwith Reeve) said he thought the “process was perfect and exactly the way it was supposed to work.”

Kidd said staff will encourage a delegation to come before council to make a pitch, and staff would then come back with a report and recommendation for council to consider. 

“We don’t have to follow the staff report,” Kidd said, but “that is staff’s job.”

Kidd said if the delegates wanted to proceed with their options, that’s on them, he said. “This is the process. Staff doesn’t say no. It has to come to council and we make the decision.”

Coun. Krista Lowry (Mississippi Mills Mayor), agreed with Kidd and added, “I think it’s great that there are communities and groups that want to come forward with ideas like this. I think as a council we want to work with them. I’m pleased with this motion because there are some opportunities throughout the county, maybe with some of our lands or it might encourage lower tiers to look at some parcels that they own that could be developed.”

Lowry also encouraged advocating for provincial parcels if available for housing development.

“It started a conversation here with another way we can try to influence housing in a positive way in Lanark County,” Lowry said. 

Coun. Bill King (Lanark Highlands Deputy Reeve) said he had a number of concerns about the housing proposal, starting with the location. He said there were transportation issues and no proximity to downtown shopping. “I just think it’s very prudent of us as stewards of the land – and it’s not in Perth, but Tay Valley and they want Perth to service it and they’d have to annex it. It just sounds like a really complicated situation at this point.”

Rainer reiterated that county council “absolutely should have a role in this.” He was concerned about staff time on the project, not just county staff but their own planner in Tay Valley, especially those conversations about annexing the property. 

“That shouldn’t have happened if this council had an earlier opportunity to say affordable housing is not an option for this land,”

 Rainer said. “It’s been a huge disappointment to the proponents and for me, as reeve of Tay Valley, to know our own planner was engaged in discussions with the proponents, with county staff, around the idea that seemed to have a bit of traction.”

A Linden Housing Co-op representative was contacted for comment but he has yet to respond. 


Lanark County has owned this 40-acre property since the early 1900s. It abuts the Tay River and a large part of it is floodplain. The Lanark County House of Industry opened in 1903 and the property was a working farm supplying fresh food for residents. 

In the 1940s the building was converted to a county-run home for the aged. It was 27 years later, the current Lanark Lodge was built next door and the original building was sold to private owners. In 1974, it is reported that an addition was built onto Lanark Lodge, and 15 years later, a new wing was constructed. Renovations took place in 1993. 

The county administration building was added to the property in 1982 with public works engineering building erected in the 1990s, and the garage and domes in 2014. 

The county’s master plan identifies the potential golf course development which would include a bridge across the Tay at the rear of the administrative offices. The master plan also identifies the four acres in question in the middle of the property as “future expansion of Lanark Lodge.” Just three years ago, the property was listed at $200,000 per acre.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News

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