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Affordable housing ideas suggested to Kawartha Lakes council

DAN CEARNS The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: The local Poverty Reduction Roundtable on Affordable Housing provided some ideas to city councillors on how to tackle the issue of affordable housing in the city, at a meeting on Tuesday, November 7th.

“I’m sure if I said, the current state of affairs looks like there’s been a lot of growth and development in our community, [this] would come as no surprise to anybody here. And I think we could all agree, generally speaking, such growth and development is really good for the economy of the community,” roundtable representative Marina Hodson said, in her opening remarks.

However, she noted, this level of growth can also lead to negative impacts for the community, such as a difficult rental market.

“When professionals come to the community, in need of rental housing, they have the first choice of the limited stock. They have secure jobs, good incomes and generally good references,” Ms. Hodson said. “Unfortunately, it often results in these professionals, at least whether they choose to buy or not, residing in rental units which they would not normally accept. So, that professional is now living in a less than desirable unit. And the person who might be working at Canadian Tire is bumped out of that very same rental unit because their credit or income is not as good.”

Among the roundtable’s ideas, to remedy this issue, are: having vacant land “gifted, for development purposes;” having tax or development fee incentives, for the creation of rental units; re-examining “prohibitive bylaws;” and encouraging “rent to own possibilities.”

Ms. Hodson suggested the creation of a “temporary ad hoc committee, to look at the opportunities and possibilities to improve housing, especially in the rental aspect.” This committee would include a couple of members of council.

Mayor Doug Elmslie suggested, council reach out to their staff members, in Human Services, to get them involved in this issue and discussion. He also suggested the group send a letter to council to set up the committee.

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