Kincardine gets challenge to create more affordable housing

Section: 
News

 By Barb McKay

 

Kincardine is being encouraged to develop a community improvement plan (CIP) geared towards affordable housing.

 

Susan Earle and Leah Barrie, of Bruce County Housing, attended last Wednesday’s council meeting to talk about recent achievements and goals for the next few years. Barrie said Kincardine should be congratulated for revising its policies and zoning bylaws to allow for affordable housing developments and the creation of secondary units in existing homes.

 

Councillor Jacqueline Faubert said she is currently in the process of creating a second unit in her home for her mother; something that wouldn’t have been possible prior to Kincardine’s policy changes.

 

“It’s really a blessing for us,” she said.

 

Bruce County Housing is now hoping that Kincardine will look at encouraging more affordable housing developments and target areas of the municipality in transition to make improvements and repairs. Part of the CIP could also be offering grants or loans to developers in the target area to make improvements.

“My challenge to you is to dedicate your next CIP to housing,” Barrie said.

 

Mayor Larry Kraemer said the county has done a great job of creating affordable housing that is attractive so there is no stigma attached.

 

In her report to council, Earle said the county is working towards its goal of creating 445 affordable housing units by 2023. In the past year, 122 units were created. Tom Kerr is currently building a six-unit affordable housing development on Kincardine Avenue.

 

Utility costs continue to be the biggest challenge for individuals on fixed incomes, Earle stressed. In the last two months, the county has given out $31,000 in funding for rent arrears, utility arrears and moving expenses. A total of $4,000 was distributed in Kincardine and most of that was to help with utility bills.

 

“It’s a really difficult thing for people on fixed incomes not knowing each month what their utility costs will be,” Earle said.