Site plan approved for affordable housing project
By Chad Ingram
Minden Hills council will enter into a site plan agreement with the Haliburton Kawartha Lakes Housing Corporation for the second phase of the affordable housing project off Parkside Street near the arena, meaning work on the project will soon be underway.
The three-storey, 21-unit building is the second phase of the affordable housing complex known as Pinegrove Place. Its first phase, a one-storey, 12-unit building, opened to residents in the summer of 2017. Initially it was hoped that construction on the second phase would start in April, but some work needed to be completed before the site plan agreement could proceed, including updating of a storm water management plan.
“All issues have been resolved with the storm water management plan,” township planner Ian Clendening told councillors during a special meeting on July 17.
During the first phase of the project, Minden Hills spent some $300,000 on preparatory work including the relocation of the skatepark and a quonset hut, realignment of trails in the area and roads work.
“We did as much as we could and took it as far as we did,” said Mayor Brent Devolin. “This is the last piece of the puzzle, and it’s 21 units, badly needed.”
The housing corporation is putting $1.2 million of its own funds toward the $4 million project, with the County of Haliburton contributing $252,000.
The building would include one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. It would include a mix of affordable and market-rate rentals, affordable units considered to be those that rent for 80 per cent of the market rate. The average rate for a one-bedroom rental unit in the City of Kawartha Lakes now exceeds $1,000 a month; $1,450 for a three-bedroom unit, with figures for the county in a similar range. The City of Kawartha Lakes is the social services provider for the County of Haliburton, administering funding and overseeing projects. The housing corporation’s waiting list is extensive. As of December, there was a waiting list of 1,700 to access the 1,142 subsidized rental units that exist in the combined area of the city and county. There were just 98 turnovers among those units last year, and the current wait time is three to five years. It’s expected that someone registering today could wait as long as seven years for a subsidized unit to become available.
An updated, 20-year housing plan for the county and city calls for the creation of 5,500 new housing units by 2041, with 100 being created in the City of Kawartha Lakes per year, and 40 per year being created in the county.
Work on the second phase of the Minden project is expected to take a year, with the building opening for occupancy in 2020.