What is affordable housing? The ‘mouth’ (Councillor Neill) thinks it is not 80 % of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Average Market rent which would make an ‘ affordable’ unit in the range of $800. Councillor Neill felt this was more than an average tenant could pay. This discussion surrounded the decision on the Wright Crescent development which is an innovative project for Kingston that still will need planning approval. It is a joint project of CJM development and Town Homes Kingston. The mayor was most vehement in supporting the project as he indicated that the requirement of 25% affordable housing as found in the Official Plan, (page 57) was simply addressing the need for a wide variety of housing and costs in the community. I guess Neill and the mayor will never get along.
Housing is more important than ever as the city strives to deal with homelessness and the great length of its list of people seeking low cost housing. Kingston has, as the report indicates, higher rents and a vacancy rate characteristic of larger urban centres. The 10 year plan to end homelessness in Kingston has done much to reconfigure the approach to affordable housing. Kingston now has an Affordable Housing and Land Acquisition program. The Wright Crescent project is its first iteration. The program is intended to pick up land which otherwise would not be available by subsidizing purchase – In theory this program could wipe out the cost differential for affordable housing in the south side of Princess vs north side. More widely diversified housing is to everyone’s benefit.
The CAO recommended contracts for the delivery of support programs a necessary component of a successful housing strategy. We haven’t heard the last of this. Under the 10 year plan some shelters will have to close as demand moderates. In the meantime the Service Provider will make sure Housing First is front and centre.
On the wider housing front – the Davis Tannery site and the proposed development on Frontenac St. were defeated. Both were Patry developments. One wonders if Patry is trusted by Councillor’s.
This was the first Council meeting after the Mayor’s announcement that he would not run again. He is seeking the federal Liberal nomination. Candidates for mayor (Hector, Downes and Paterson) were on display. Hector was quiet, Downes and Paterson were not.