Ontario Construction News staff writer
City of Guelph staff presented several recommendations to council in October, based on information collected at a Housing in Guelph workshop in July, special Council meeting in September and Building Our City Budget Workshop held Oct.11.
“We want enough housing, and we want housing that people can afford. We’re trying to balance our housing goals and our vision for Guelph, with our obligations to capital investments like infrastructure renewal, facilities and service enhancements, all in a way that’s fiscally responsible,” said Colleen Clak-Bush, deputy chief administrative officer for public wervices. “We know what it takes, and what it costs to build community, but we’re not permitted to run a deficit. If we don’t get more funding from other levels of government to make all of this happen, we’ll be forced to raise property taxes or cut programs, which threatens the quality of life and affordability in Guelph.
The city’s development advisor has been directed to work with the Guelph and District Homebuilders Association and Developers Association to advance outstanding sites that have approvals in place but have not been
Staff’s recommendations covered the entire housing continuum–from emergency, transitional and supportive housing to private market rentals and ownership. In addition to stronger collaboration and advocacy efforts, working with the County of Wellington to establish clear roles and responsibilities, and supporting the County’s Housing Symposium.
Council approved the following recommendations:
adopt a human rights-based approach to housing.
request the Government of Ontario consider donating provincial lands for affordable and supportive housing.
urge local developers and the Chamber of Commerce to consider donating land to address urgent housing needs in Guelph.
seek feedback from the Downtown Guelph Business Association, local downtown social service agencies and the County to consider the best location(s) and delivery method for 12-hour service, seven days a week daytime shelter space.
staff work with Royal City Mission to consider a short-term extension of the current Community Benefit Agreement, until staff has time to complete community consultation and report back to Council on next steps regarding the possible daytime shelter space.
implement Housing Affordability Strategy to enable a greater supply and mix of housing and to enhance capacity, awareness and support for affordable housing.
prepare a zoning bylaw amendment that would permit, as-of-right, up to four residential units per lot where there is service capacity.
use the Housing Accelerator Fund funding, if received, to incentivize about 975 new residential units.
Ask the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada to reconsider the fiscal framework in a new deal for municipalities.
The full list of recommendations is posted at guelph.ca.
Staff was directed to work with community partners and developers to increase housing supply, and advocate to other levels of government to provide much-needed funding for critical infrastructure to support our growing population and housing needs.