sfjwzls · 2021-10-21

Neighbouring towns talk affordable accommodation

Representatives from Collingwood and The Blue Mountains met to discuss affordable housing solutions and plan joint projects for increasing the amount of units available in each town.

The Blue Mountains mayor Ellen Anderson and Collingwod Mayor Chris Carrier both attended the meeting on Friday, March 6, which was chaired by Dawn Myers and Mayor Anderson.

The Blue Mountains representatives included Rotarian Steve Schofield, BVO executive director, Carolyn Letourneau, Betty Langford of the centre for business and economic development and councilor John McGee.

The Collingwood taskforce includes councilors Ian Chadwick and Norman Sandberg, Matthew Way resident Tom Schaefer, Mayor Carrier, Ralph Sneid, Garry Reid and Keith Hull, who was hired by the town to work on solutions for affordable housing.

A majority of the discussion centered on the issue of NIMBYS. (Not In My Back Yard). Referring to residents of both towns who object to affordable housing units in the area saying they would be detrimental to the community.

"How do we teach people that it just is not cool to not support affordable housing?" asked Mayor Anderson. "How do we shame them?"

Schaefer, a resident of Matthew Way, a housing co-op in Collingwood, said it was important to change people’s perspective of affordable housing, which does not mean socially assisted housing.

Keith Hull made a presentation to explain how affordable housing units, with the involvement of a developer and a unit shares program would be feasible in either town.

Some discussion also focused on options for development charge (DC) bylaws specific for affordable housing development. Suggestions included waving DC’s, putting them off until the building is sold and offering extra stimulus with programs encouraging environmentally friendly building to counteract the DC costs.

Both Carrier and Anderson agreed to keep meeting with their individual taskforces in their own communities, and have joint meetings once in a while to discuss any options for joint projects or Municipal Services Board issues.