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Stalled affordable housing project example of need for better provincial support

A stalled affordable housing project in Picton is being used by the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) as part of examples of why the provincial government needs to step up support for rural communities.

“Provincial programs need to be reviewed with a rural perspective and funding should be earmarked accordingly,” the EOWC states in an advocacy briefing package which was submitted to the Rural Ontario Municipal Association Conference.

Council, at its regular meeting Tuesday night, is also discussing support for issues brought forward by the EOWC – including supporting calls for a provincial review of the Ontario Works and Disability Support Program financial assistance rates, and work with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario on a comprehensive social and economic prosperity review due to the fact that nearly one third of municipal spending in Ontario is for services in areas of provincial responsibility, including health care, child care, long term care and housing.

The mayor is also on the agenda to provide a verbal update from the EOWC meeting.

Prince Edward County is a member of the EOWC – which speaks out to support 90 municipalities (800,000 residents) from Northumberland to the Quebec border.

“The EOWC encourages the Ontario government to think differently when it comes to putting money away for rural projects… Provincial programs need to be reviewed with a rural perspective and funding should be earmarked accordingly.”

It used the affordable housing project on Disraeli Street in Picton as an example.

Prince Edward County already has pipes in the ground, but requires ‘last-mile’ funding to hook up to existing infrastructure.

Finalizing the planning, the County found municipal services do not extend to the end of the street – which was not part of the initial funding application to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – at a cost of about $400,000 to extend water/wastewater pipes to the site and get an extension of roadwork to allow the snowplow to turn around.

“For a market rate development, the servicing would be pulled into the proforma,” the EOWC states. “For this project it is another barrier that is struggling to be financed. This is the kind of ‘last mile’ infrastructure funding that could help sites become ‘unstuck’ and unlock affordable housing.”

The County had received $100,000 in SEED funding from the CMHC to build 12 modular housing one bedroom units in a partnership project with its Tyendinaga First Nations neighbour. The units were to be filled by youth on the housing waiting list with the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.

The project was first discussed in 2021; zoning was approved by council in 2022 and construction was projected for last fall, but is now moved to this year.

The EOWC asked the provincial government to support and fund municipalities ahead of the July 2024 asset management plan deadlines (set by the province) to make projects viable. It also seeks a federal government agreement that reinstates grant-based, multi-year funding so municipalities can plan for and execute their asset management plans.

 

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  1. Paul D Cole says:

    Stalled affordable housing projects specifically the Disreali St project were well underway when The County decided to buy the old Queen Elizabeth School property. The County already owns quite a few surplus properties that are vacant and available for use why not use what is already available instead of purchasing new properties which will “stall” as well I’m guessing…

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