SCUGOG: A plan to build an affordable housing development on a Scugog church’s grounds was well received by Scugog councillors, when it was presented to them on Monday, November 20th.
At the meeting, Tony Janssen and Andrew Johnston, from the Emmanuel Community Church’s affordable housing committee, presented the committee’s plan for an affordable housing project on the Reach St. church’s excess lands.
“Our church sits on six acres of land. We are currently only using two acres of the six acre parcel,” Mr. Johnston said, adding the land was originally purchased so the church could have the option to one day build seniors housing there.
Mr. Johnston said their goal is to bring that vision to reality.
“Realizing the shortage of affordable housing over the last decade, and the expansion of the municipal water and wastewater treatment plant, it seemed like the perfect time to move forward, utilizing the extra property for exactly why it was purchased,” he said.
The committee’s plan is to set up a non-profit organization, to run and maintain the housing development.
To help fund the project, the committee has applied to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for seed funding and an interest free loan.
Mr. Janssen said the plan involves building 64 one-bedroom units, in one or two buildings. Half of the units would be designed to be affordable, and the other half would be rented at market value.
Ward 1 Councillor Betty Somerville praised the proposal.
“It’s so good to see a proposed development that is going to be geared to lower income,” she said.
Ward 5 Councillor Jennifer Back called it a “nice initiative to see.”
Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew questioned if there is any intention of having any of the units be condominiums.
“Initially, we would be moving forward with a complete 100 per cent rental project. If at some point during [the process] we have to look in another financial direction, then there’s a possibility we would look at that,” Mr. Johnston said.
Council later decided the township would provide 'in principle' a letter of support for the project, subject to the project “receiving the required planning approvals.”