County contributes cash to housing development
The County of Haliburton will make a cash contribution to the second phase of the Pinegrove Place housing complex in Minden.
Hope Lee, CEO of Haliburton Kawartha Lakes Housing Corporation, made the financial request during a presentation to county councillors during an Oct. 24 meeting.
It is standard practice for the county to help fund affordable housing projects within its borders; it contributed $100,000 to the projects first phase, a one-storey, 12-unit facility opened to residents in the summer of 2017.
The second phase is larger, a three-storey, 21-unit building that will feature a mix of affordable and market rental units, including one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments.
Because there is no special funding for this project – the housing corporation is putting $1.2 million of its own money into the the $4-million project – there is a mixture of affordable and market units.
“There is a demand for both of those kinds of housing in Minden,” Lee said, indicating that space would also be provided for some of the area’s homeless.
The corporation was looking for $252,000 from the county.
“We don’t need that cash contribution immediately,” Lee said, “We don’t need that until construction is complete.” Construction on the project is scheduled to finish in spring of 2020.
County chief administrative officer Mike Rutter noted that $75,000 is allotted for affordable housing in the county budget each year.
“Clearly, that will need to be bumped,” he said. Councillors agreed in principle to the contribution, the exact specifics to be dealt with at budget time by the new county council.
Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin, who has sat on the housing corporation’s board during the present council term, said the corporation needed to come up with a model where communities without sewer and water servicing could also see affordable housing projects constructed.
The corporation’s housing projects tend to be built in Minden or Haliburton Village.
“Sometimes it comes out that it’s just a Minden thing, but it includes the county and region,” Devolin said.
“Thank you for saying what you just said,” said Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt, who’s often commented that she is keeping track of how much county cash has gone into projects in Dysart et al and Minden Hills, and that when such a model is established, “There’s going to be a little bit of financial catchup for Algonquin Highlands and Highlands East.”
Algonquin Highlands Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen wanted to know if there was some way to prioritize local people getting into the building.
“I want to know if there’s any way to manage that,” Danielsen said.
A central waiting list for affordable housing is kept by the City of Kawartha Lakes, which is the social services provider for Haliburton County, and so people on that waiting list can come from either the city or the county.
“There is no way to prioritize individuals and families who are from this region,” Lee replied.
“That doesn’t really achieve our goals,” Danielsen said.