“The city does not have an existing inventory of affordable housing units owned by the city or any other agency on the city’s behalf,” the memo reads.
“Any capital investment in affordable housing would be considered an enhancement to services provided by the city and therefore would not be eligible to impose on new development through DCs.”
Following a question from Coun. Dan Gibson, city treasurer Tara Baker said it would be more effective to use the city’s affordable housing incentive program, approved in 2017, as opposed to the development charge framework.
“If you do it through the bylaws, there is difficulty in ensuring that those units remain rental,” she said.
“I think that through the grant program or through an agreement, you have more control over ensuring that those remain rental over the long term.”
Under the program, applicable projects would receive up to $70,000 each, funded through an annual contribution of $230,000 to the city’s affordable housing reserves between 2018 and 2022, on top of the $100,000 already being put in.
However, council voted against the $230,000 for the 2018 budget, and directed the $100,000 towards additional funding for the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition.
Last week, Coun. Cathy Downer indicated she would be moving to reinstate that funding.
Along with the resolution on social housing, O’Rourke put forward a motion that will see the city undertake a similar study on seniors’ housing with The Elliott Community.
Tonight, didn’t plant a seed, just prepared the soil a little to help move the conversation forward about the future of long-term care in Guelph. Sometimes these things take time… a long time.
— Dominique ORourke (@orourke_ward6) February 12, 2019
Charges for a growing city
While staff had originally proposed last month to start charging the University of Guelph development charges, all be it at a discounted rate, councillors voted in favour last month of maintaining the exemption.
Monday night, councillors again voted in favour of maintaining the exemption. The vote was the sole non-unanimous vote of the evening, with Couns. Bob Bell, Christine Billings, Dan Gibson and Rodrigo Goller voting against.
When changes to the city’s development charge rates were the subject of a special council meeting last month, delegates from the business and development community said the increased rates would drive up the cost of living in the city.
However, Monday night saw one delegate point to other municipalities that have developers pay above and beyond the development charge rates – saying it is a path forward Guelph should also look at.
Pointing to correspondence from Watson and Associates, the firm retained by the city for the development charge background study, sent to councillors earlier this month, delegate Susan Watson said Guelph should take up the model used in Milton and Barrie, and have developers shoulder more of the costs of an expanding city, rather than putting it on to residents’ tax bills.
The letter, sent to the city last month, explains that during its explosive population growth from 31,500 in 2000 to its current 130,000, Milton was able to negotiate with developers to have them make capital contributions over and above development charge payments.
Barrie was able to negotiate a similar deal.