Thursday April 24, 2014

Housing issues, motion from FCM addressed by council


A number of housing issues were discussed by Weyburn city council at their meeting on Dec. 9, including issues discussed by the Housing Advisory committee, and a motion passed on from FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) on the issue.

A report analyzing current housing data in Weyburn updated a report that was first done in 2011 for the committee, including targets in the city’s Housing Business Plan.

The report found that residential development is down from what was projected in the plan.

“Overall, we are seeing about three-quarters of the development projected in the plan (based on residential development required to satisfy a population of 22,000 by the year 2025),” said the report to council, made by junior planner Drew Bakken.

The report noted while the city is not meeting their housing targets, “we are meeting and exceeding the entry-level market targets.”
Part of the reason for the above is due to the development of townhouses and condos over the last couple years.

In an update on the housing programs offered through the city the Affordable Home Ownership Program (AHOP) changed the maximum income level needed to qualify, raising it to $74,000.  The city has received less than 10 applications for this incentive, and all have been approved.

For the Secondary Suite Program, there have been no building permit applications sent in to the city yet, and for the Rental Construction Incentive, the city budgeted for up to 100 rental units for this program. So far, the city has provided funds for four fourplexes and a 16-unit apartment in 2013.

The Weyburn Builds program will be offered again, but the Planning Department will review it, and may increase the boundaries of eligibility to qualify for the grant.

For the Habitat For Humanity program, a recipient family has not yet been selected; there has been a change in the property, where the new site is now at the corner of Park Avenue and Victoria Street.

A fundraising bonspiel was recently held for Habitat, said Coun. Winston Bailey, and over $8,000 was raised. The Habitat project should be underway by the spring of 2014.

City council approved and passed a resolution sent them by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), urging the federal government to endorse FCM’s housing campaign, which is entitled, “Fixing Canada’s Housing Crunch”.

The campaign is supportive of programs like AHOP and the rental incentive program, and is asking the federal government to protect Canadians from the expiry of $1.7 billion in social housing agreements.

The FCM resolution was drawn up at the most recent meeting of the organization in Ottawa, where Mayor Debra Button was involved as an FCM board member and representing Saskatchewan as the president of SUMA.

The resolution was making reference to an inadequate supply of attainable housing in Canada, a problem that communities in southeast Saskatchewan have been addressing for the last few years.


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