At the Committee of the Whole meeting on April 1st, Council was asked to approve support for both the Balder Corporation Proposal and the Trinity Housing Proposal – both of which were behind Nicole Beatty’s initiative to add $250,000 to the Town’s 2019 budget for affordable housing projects. Staff provided a 28 page memo outlining measures that could be taken to provide support. One of these is the creation of a Townwide Community Improvement Plan to allow certain incentives to be provided and another is additional staff to implement a “new housing program”. Staff suggested actions that would cost $360K in addition to a shortfall in revenue of $52K. Most of this would go towards the Trinity Housing project. At the meeting, Balder made a presentation but Trinity did not.
There were two presenters, a representative of Balder Corporation and Cornerstone Executive Director Nancy Johnston. The first point made was that although Balder is a “for profit corporation”, dedicated rental housing construction has not been viable without Government support and the Balder project only exists because of Federal Government support. This makes it a Private/Public Project. It was also emphasized that a key Federal Government requirement is support from a second level of Government. Unfortunately, the Provincial Government is not providing support so that leaves Municipalities. It was said that 13 units will be classified as “affordable”. Nancy then made the point that Cornerstone is struggling because of low turnover which in turn is caused by lack of affordable rental housing. She therefore supports this project.
In response to a question, it was stated that Balder’s project will have a commitment to keep units affordable for 10 years but they are open to extending that period.
The presentation says that the project will have 14 Studio units, 15 one bedroom units, 23 one Bedroom and Den units, 8 two Bedroom units and 5 2 Bedroom and Den units. Balder stated that “thirteen units, namely all the studio and some of the one bedroom units, will be designated as affordable“. Note that it’s not clear if all the info in the presentation is applicable since not all the slides were used. See link below for more details of the Balder Project.
In line with Staff recommendations, Nicole moved that:
Council provide Affordable Housing Assistance to Balder Corporation for 315-325 University Avenue West and Trinity Housing Corporation for 25 James Street in the following manner:
- Streamline Approval Process;
- Deferral of Development Charges for Ten Years; and
- Issue a letter stating Council’s intention to implement a CIP and consider Balder’s request for further support (per Balder’s request for a third supporting item).
Trinity Housing Corporation:
- Streamlined development approvals process;
- Development Charges Grant of 50% or $111,360;
- Deferral of the balance of Development Charges in the amount of $111,360 for Five Years;
- Grant equal to 100% of the increase in the Town’s portion of property taxes for ten years (TIEG) with an estimated total net present value of $179,500;
- Assistance with securing County of Northumberland grant equal to the increase of property taxes for ten years (TIEG);
- Guarantee of Loan for $330,000.
Further that a CIP plan be prepared (cost $65K), that by-laws be amended to “accommodate new, non-profit affordable housing projects”, that legal Counsel be engaged (estimated $5K) and that funds come from the 2019 budget ($250,000) and $110,860 come from the 2020-2022 budget.
This would be presented to Council for consideration (approval) at the 13 May Committee of the Whole Meeting.
Although the motion included a requirement to collaborate with the County, John Henderson was concerned that they might “trump” Cobourg and delay or stop the process but CAO Stephen Peacock gave assurances that the Town could proceed independently. John also commented that the elected Councillors showed that they had listened to their electors. At this point there was loud applause from the gallery. They further applauded when Council passed the motion unanimously.
It seems clear that these projects are going ahead – or at least will get all the support from Council that they have asked for.
- Balder Corporation Delegation request and letter. Includes Cornerstone letter.
- Balder Presentation
- Citizen Budget requests – included request by Trinity Housing – 17 January 2019
- Balder request for support on Affordable Housing
At the regular Council meeting on April 8, Council passed motions to proceed per the above.