Answers #1-4: Midland Election 2018

- housing affordable housing low income poverty homelessness

Answers #1-4

The Question

How do you intend to encourage and ensure an adequate supply of affordable housing in Midland?

Carole McGinn (Nicols) – Wednesday, September 19th 2018

I like the structure of Rent Geared to Income (RGI) co-operatives, am interested in the ideology behind “tiny” houses, feel we could learn from Orillias project “Building Hope” and think we need to support and spearhead transitional housing. We could become the place that others look to for increases in Healthy Living Index markers. Its not just about having an address. It also about safe space, inclusive, barrier free, excellence in the build or retrofit, access to services, helping people maintain ability to have the pride of paying the bills and the security of knowing next month won’t be worse. Housing is not only about where a person has an address. The Lack of affordable housing is a much bigger indicator of conditions where a person can’t afford a. Any bills b. Some bills c. All bills but nothing more d. Unable to make any lifestyle changes due to a, b, or c. Having written (said) that having an address is paramount to a persons well being and potential success. Some of that is up to their drive and some of it we as a people who care can give a hand up.

Jonathan Reid – Friday, September 21st 2018

First acknowledge that we are in a housing crisis, and change existing bylaws to make it temporarily easier to accommodate these individuals and families, secondly, get busy on building setting land a side etc for new affordable housing to be built and developed, with incentives for developers to want to build them.

Bill Gordon – Saturday, September 22nd 2018

Midland has surplus land, and I don’t mean parkland. When the County of Simcoe and the Province provide funding and incentives to Municipalities for increase affordable housing, we must be ready with plans to compete for that funding. We need to attract developers who will create mixed use communities that are not designed to be urban ghettos, where affordable, subsidized and regular housing can co-exist. Good policy, fair development charges and reliable municipal services must exist and our master plan should be used as a sales tool to help attract this development. In short, Council needs to support initiatives that drive this change since the town is neither a builder nor developer.

Answered on Bill Gordon’s Website: Q & A Time With Voters – Volume 2.

Cher Cunningham – Monday, September 24 2018

This is a big question for which we know we do not have “the” answer. I believe that it is critical that Midland continue to participate in the Simcoe County Affordable Housing initiative rather than splintering off and dividing our resources. We can also look at implementing some of the recommendations from that committee to entice developers toward affordable housing options including: use of surplus land, waiving development fees etc, and look at innovative ownership options such as more co-ops. With an 18% poverty rate, the issue of affordable housing is not the whole question - subsidized/social housing tends to be where this population is stopped - with limited options to transition to. It is necessary to look at the bigger picture of how we can make Midland a more attractive place to bring a business - through charges, taxation, skilled work force development etc.

Stewart Strathearn – Monday, September 24 2018

Requested that due to time constraints that I point to his website: Elect Stewart Strathearn for Mayor — and noted that he asks constituents use a contact method listed on that site, or on the Town website, or otherwise public, to ask him the questions they have in person, if the website proves insufficient — after helping me with a council matter, and having a wide-ranging discussion.

Jonathan Main – Tuesday, September 25 2018

The short answer is to work collaboratively with Simcoe County on affordable housing.

The long answer is to update our planning policies (Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw) to allow for intensification and mixed-use development. The current draft official plan addresses where it’s appropriate to have intensification in our community and that is in the downtown core but also along designated intensification corridors. The town may even use planning tools to exempt development charges for affordable housing projects (currently there is a DC exemption for all development in the downtown). There have been many great housing projects come before the 2014-18 council, so there are a few projects that we’ll see materialize in the new few years which should help with housing supply (some already under construction). It’s not just about apartments, it’s about adding to the entire housing spectrum (units big and small).

One of the most successful tools for affordable housing is the updated 2nd Units Bylaw which allows for new and existing buildings to add a 2nd unit (essentially doubling the density). This has created real-time opportunities for home owners to add units and we’ve seen much success with this program. The county even has a grant opportunity for home owners to install a 2nd unit.

The next term of council will look at how to repurpose the old PW and Parks properties on Ontario and 4th. Incredible opportunity for affordable housing.

Elliot Sheaves – Tuesday, September 25 2018

Prefers to answer questions in person due to the ways in which written answers can be taken the wrong way. He met with me in person and we had a very long and informative discussion. He also said he welcomes one-on-one with any constituent who would like to know what he thinks on any issue. He has also launched Vote Elliot Sheaves.

Candidates who have not (yet) responded

Notes on the Answers

Answers in ‘normal text’ are the candidate’s written response and are taken verbatim. I use italics for my words such as summaries of verbal responses and/or pointing to websites at the request of the candidate.