Sudbury

Selling lots for $500 helped Smooth Rock Falls attract families

A northern Ontario town that was decimated when its local mill shut down in 2006, has seen a recent comeback.

Smooth Rock Falls has attracted 60 families since it started to offer lots for $500 in 2017

Sixty families have moved to the town of Smooth Rock Falls since it started to offer $500 lots in 2017. (Facebook/Town of Smooth Rock Falls)

A northern Ontario town that was decimated when its local mill shut down in 2006, has seen a recent comeback.

Sue Perras, the mayor of Smooth Rock Falls, north of Timmins, said 60 families moved to the small town after it started to offer lots for $500 four years ago.

"We've got people from the GTA from Ottawa," she said. "We've got some people from Newfoundland, Alberta that have moved to Smooth Rock."

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Perras said more people moved to the town, because they were able to work from home, and wanted to escape bigger cities.

The town's recent growth has also resulted in changes to the real estate market. The average price of a home in Smooth Rock falls four years ago was $55,000, Perras said, but it increased to $135,000 in 2021.

When Tembec shut down the local mill in 2006, more than 200 people lost their jobs. Homes that could not sell had to be demolished.

But Perras said houses are selling in a matter of weeks today. 

She said many of the people who have moved there from larger urban centres have enjoyed the change of pace.

"We're so much quieter than living in a city, but sometimes that's good," Perras said. "You know, like you have time to walk around, you have time to go to the park." 

Building an industrial park

In January 2020 the province granted Smooth Rock falls more than $1.3 million to build an industrial park, which will have 12 lots for local businesses.

"We will continue to support promising projects like these that diversify our economy and develop strong, vibrant communities across the north." said Parliamentary assistant Dave Smith, at the time of the announcement.

With files from Martha Dillman

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