Trudeau and Smith weigh in on what’s next for Calgary’s newly approved housing strategy – Calgary

Calgary’s strategy to improve housing affordability has received the green light from city council, and work to begin implementing the plan is underway at city hall.

The strategy was approved 12-3 by city council Saturday after a marathon three-day committee meeting that included feedback and first-hand experiences from more than 160 Calgarians.

Much of the public hearing echoed data from the city report that more than 84,000, or one in five households in Calgary, were struggling to afford housing.

Arthur Gallant, who lives in the Beltline, is one of those Calgarians seeing several consecutive rent increases eat up more of their paycheck.

“My rent is 62 percent of my income after taxes and deductions,” he told PKBNEWS.

The situation leads Gallant, who works full time, to support the city’s housing strategy. He came to the town hall on Saturday to attend the debate between the councilors before the final vote.

Story continues below advertisement

“I like how the council is taking a long-term view – this is something that should have been done years or decades ago,” Gallant told PKBNEWS. “But there is no short-term vision. I didn’t see anything in the strategy that addresses people like me who are struggling to pay their rent.

Title Home is hereThe city’s plan includes approximately 80 recommendations and measures aimed at increasing the supply of market and non-market housing over the coming years.

According to the city’s housing solutions manager, Tim Ward, work is underway on provisions of the strategy that do not require budgetary funding or additional council approval.

Ward said this includes a program to help Calgarians pay first and last month’s rent, support for tenant services and further research into some of the more exploratory recommendations related to populations deserving equity.

Story continues below advertisement

“The hard work starts here,” Ward said. “We now have a lot of work to do to implement the strategy.”

Ward said there will be funding requests for other recommendations during budget deliberations in November, and further action steps will be brought to council for approval over the next year.

Maggy Wlodarczyk of ACORN’s downtown Calgary chapter called the approval of the strategy “an excellent first step,” adding that “more work needs to be done” to advocate to the province for more support for tenants.

“ACORN is calling for many of these recommendations to be coupled with tenant rights,” she said. “A lot of these recommendations sound good on paper, but if they’re not coupled with some sort of tenant protection, they’re not going to be helpful in the long run. »

However, the province will not consider implementing rent controls, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said Monday.

Story continues below advertisement

“If you try to convince more developers to invest more money in building more rental housing and then say your reward will be that the government will step in at any time and limit the amount you can charge, it will have exactly the same result. reverse effect,” Smith said

Smith said the province is prepared to increase rent supplements and is open to repurposing provincial land for housing development and using tax levers to encourage new construction.

“Affordable housing is just as important as affordable housing,” Smith said. “Young people need to know that they aspire to be able to buy a house. »

Smith noted the province is looking to do more to address the labor shortage in the building trades and hopes to see work to speed up the permitting process for new developments.

Story continues below advertisement

The housing strategy also received attention in the House of Commons on Monday, after the federal housing minister sent a letter to Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek linking federal housing money to the government’s decision. advice on the plan.

“Just Saturday, the City of Calgary approved a plan to cut zoning red tape and build housing through public transit,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”

It remains unclear when Calgary might see approval for its application for Housing Acceleration Fund funding.

The zoning reform recommendation remains a sticking point for some city councilors and will require a public hearing and bylaw changes.

“Some of these things are going to be discussed ‘in silos’ in the housing strategy and one of them happens to be the blanket rezoning,” said Ward 1 councilor Sonya Sharp. “We probably won’t have a conversation until early next year.”

Story continues below advertisement

The strategy sets targets to build 3,000 new non-market affordable homes per year and 1,000 more market homes than are currently built in the city each year.

“We finally got approval for big things,” Ward 3 Council said,” Jasmine Mian said. “I am happy, but my enthusiasm is measured, because this work has been very hard and hard-won for several months, and there is still a lot to do.”

&copy 2023 PKBNEWS, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button