Affordable Housing Promises by Candidates for Mayor

One of the issues in this election is what to do about affordable housing.  County Council is responsible for providing affordable housing and Mayors from each municipality are County Councillors so it seems that the affordable housing promises by candidates for Mayor are relevant. Since this is a blog, it’s web based so a review of online statements seems appropriate.  Cobourg’s Candidates for Mayor are incumbent John Henderson and local businessman Lucas Cleveland so I have extracted their positions on this issue from their Web sites and where available, other Social Media.  I emailed both candidates offering to publish their response but I have received no response. Note that affordable housing is a very separate issue from Homelessness although it’s often talked about as one issue.

John Henderson

Web site  – no Social Media

John Henderson
John Henderson

Statement

Affordable & Rental Housing: Work with Town Council to align with the Provincial More Homes for Everyone Act 2022 for the development of attainable mixed-housing. This includes exploring alternative forms of housing, such as tiny and modular homes.

John is currently chair of the County’s Social Services Committee which is responsible for subsidized housing including Rent-geared-to-income units.  He sometimes, although rarely, reports to Council on County action on affordable housing.  John has been supportive of Cobourg Council actions to promote affordable housing in the Town, notably the Community Improvement Plan for Affordable Housing and the development by Balder Corporation at William and University.

Lucas Cleveland

Web siteFacebook   Instagram

Lucas Cleveland
Lucas Cleveland

Lucas does not have a platform as such but on his web site he lists what he thinks Cobourg should be.

It should be a place where “families can afford a home and still have money left to live a quality life”.

On Instagram, he recorded a video where he was about to go into a mayoral candidates’ debate put on by a local Affordable Housing group.  In that he says that “affordable housing is probably one of the largest issues facing our community, our Province and our country.  It’s something that’s near and dear to my heart, and it’s something that I’ve struggled with since moving to Northumberland seven years ago.”

Lucas does not suggest a solution; his campaign is focused on where he wants to go.

Given their sparse mentioning of the issue, and no response to my email, it looks like it’s not really a major issue for either candidate even though, as mayor, their position on the County Council would give them an opportunity to do something.

Resources

Addendum – 6 Oct 2022

John Henderson did provide a response on time but it got caught in my spam catcher.  Here it is now.

Statement

Affordable & Rental Housing: Work with Town Council to align with the Provincial More Homes for Everyone Act 2022 for the development of attainable mixed-housing. This includes exploring alternative forms of housing, such as tiny and modular homes.

John is currently chair of the County’s Social and Community Services Committee (SCC) which is responsible for subsidized housing including rent-geared-to-income units. John is also a member with Northumberland County Housing Corporation Board (NCHCB) which oversees approximately 400 plus housing units within Northumberland County. The one main site in Cobourg is Windermere Place on King Street East.

To date, the NCHC Board and SCC have worked with the Federal-Provincial government to garner grants/loans to create the Elgin Street Redevelopment project moving from the current 18 units to 40 units within 2023-24. Our committees have purchased land at 473 Ontario Street to create a 61 unit for NCHC Board, Habitat for Humanity and Aboriginal Ontario for a build in 2024. Recently, a five- bedroom home (former B&B) was purchased in Trent Hills to accommodate transitional housing working with a service manager within the community. Discussions are on-going for Port Hope and Alnwick-Haldimand Township and I remain hopeful that units may be forthcoming within the next term of County Council. The goal of Northumberland County Council collectively is to provide 90 units annually within the Affordable Housing Spectrum which aligns with the Town of Cobourg’s Affordable and Rental Improvement Plan known as the CIP. This year Cobourg Council approved just over $274 000.

In Cobourg, Balder Corporation is building a 71 unit on William Street and University Avenue of which 15 units are attainable for a twenty- year period. Federal-Provincial and Town of Cobourg supported this project through The Town of Cobourg’s Affordable and Rental Community Improvement Plan with a $100 000 loan. Similarly, The Town has been working with Trinity Corporation for a new build but the plan is still before CMHC (Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation). The Town remains hopeful that this new build can go forward in the next term of Council located on John Street.

Council also approved the Municipal Land Inventory and the small parcel site beside Memorial Arena will be explored for viable housing options such as tiny home demonstration development, transitional housing or affordable rental apartment building. Council requested an updated report for the first quarter of 2023. To learn mote about other viable forms of Alternative Housing such as Tiny Homes I attended a one-day conference in Ancaster to make viable contacts. Personally, I am very interested in the development of the Tannery Lands especially with the Integrated Sustainability Conceptual Plan being presented to Cobourg Council. Discussions are on-going with Infrastructure Ontario about the 36 acres within the theme of “Imagine Brookside.” 

The Town of Cobourg has had a long-standing and collaborative relationship with Habitat for Humanity over this term of Council with new builds completed on University Avenue, Alexandra Drive, Daintry Crescent and most recently with an additional land donation of 604 Daintry Crescent. The focus is on a single dwelling and family unit.

In terms of communication to Cobourg Council members during the entire COVID period I provided weekly updates on all important community aspects, including Affordable and Rental Housing outcomes. Communication updates are provided to Council members and the public with the Mayor’s Report at Regular Council sessions on items related to affordable housing when appropriate. As well, Kate Campbell the County’s Communication Director also publishes the advancement of Affordable and Rental projects as information is approved by Northumberland County Council.

In summary, I believe Affordable and Rental Housing goals can be met with a consistent, collaborative and diligent effort from the Federal -Provincial-Northumberland County- The Town of Cobourg working with community partners and proponents to provide a home. Having a roof over one’s family is a basic Canadian right that needs to be honoured. This without question will remain a key focus throughout the next term of Council.

John Henderson

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Cathy
13 October 2022 2:24 pm

I received an email regarding the new apartment building the ceedars. Although I’m encouraged that there are new builds in the area, it’s incredibly disheartening to see a studio apartment going for $1500+/month, and upwards of $2000/month for a 1 bedroom. It’s also disheartening to learn that several applications for new builds have been rejected by town council. Why? Nothing screams to a certain income level (good working people) that don’t feel welcome or served by the very community that they live and work in. Its time to bring back rent controls. As well, get shovels in the ground for more builds.

SW Buyer
Reply to  Cathy
13 October 2022 3:58 pm

Cathy,

I hope that you will pardon my lack of familiarity with Cobourg. You referred to “the new apartment building the ceedars”. Where is this?
I agree the rents seem high and you didn’t indicate if utilities and parking are included or extra. These rental units are not “affordable” as most people understand the current context.

You also indicated that “several applications for new builds have been rejected by town council.” Details please. I doubt they were rejected by Council. More likely by staff for some reason. Nonetheless, given the severe rental housing shortage, every effort should be made to make sure projects like these are approved.

Rent controls are a provincial matter. Cobourg has no jurisdiction. Have you contacted you MPP, David Piccini, about this?

Lastly, you wrote “get shovels in the ground for more builds”.
Who are you directing this to?
The only ones who can put “shovels in the ground” are the developer/builders. How would you encourage them to do so?

Kevin
Reply to  SW Buyer
13 October 2022 4:21 pm

The apartment building is on University, west of William. Cobourg Accessible Energy Efficient Downtown Apartment Rentals (CAEEDAR). Some of the units are ‘affordable’ but I do not know how one qualifies to rent one.

Bryan
Reply to  Cathy
15 October 2022 2:14 pm

Cathy,

Balder’s ad for these apartments is on Facebook (thanks Michael Sprayson). It shows the following units available Nov 1. I assume utilities and parking are extra.

Studio, 334-507 sqft $1,540+/month
1BR, 503-625 sqft $1,505+
1BR + Den 579-934 sqft $2,090+
2BR 699-901 sqft $2,350+
2BR + Den 600-934 Sqft $2,690+

The 17 “affordable” units are said to be studio units.
CMHC’s Average Market Rent Report for Cobourg, Oct 2021 does not have a listing for studio apartments.
A 1BR is listed at $1,082 this is the average for “occupied” units not vacant ones
The 2020-2021 rent increase for this class was 7.88% assuming the same for 2021-2022 the Oct 2022 Average Market Rent could be $1,167. Using CMHC’s definition of “affordable” rent, this would be $934. An “affordable” studio could be a bit less, say $900.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Frenchy
Reply to  John Draper
6 October 2022 9:42 pm

deleted by author

Last edited 1 month ago by Frenchy
Lucas Cleveland
4 October 2022 1:55 pm

(Intro)

Hello John, and everyone else reading this.

This post had to be broken down to get on here. My apologies for the formatting.

I want to apologize that I wasn’t able to get a response in time. I am spending 12-14 hours a day door knocking so I can meet all of those in the community and encourage them to become as involved, concerned and opinionated as so many of your dear readers. I believe my job is to get the Vote out because whoever wins needs to see a better turn out from the public so that those elected know they have the mandate from the majority of the public, that their message and plan for the community are supported and that will give them the courage, conviction and confidence to make the hard and often controversial decisions we need to make in the next 4 years. I believe having options, differing visions, a potential for change and engaged debates is part and parcel of democratic process that I studied and believe in passionately and just by stepping into the race we now have that. 

Thank you all for caring about this community so much. I know we all have our differing beliefs (especially on this blog) but it is refreshing to see so many different perspectives all coming from a place of concern and love for this great community of ours. Thank you Mr Draper for doing your part to keep the community informed. This is one of the areas of improvement that I think is key to us making progress as a council. A leader needs to be accessible and accountable to the community on the platforms where the electorate spend their time and give their attention.

(continued)

Last edited 2 months ago by Lucas Cleveland
Lucas Cleveland
4 October 2022 1:39 pm

(Part 1) Please remember that if anything I say here needs to be spoken about further you all have access to my cell phone, personal email and I have ensured that I can be reached on all social media platforms where all of the comments and posts are visible to all. This is public service position I am applying for, not public podium from which to lecture,  and any experienced leader from the corporate world knows that before you begin the hard work of consensus building,  before you even try to move forward with something as controversial as say development or affordable housing that the first and most important step is that you need to ensure you are available and accessible to everyone, to spend the time listening and learning and to  ensure all those with opinions and suggestions feel heard. It is only then that you can commit to the really hard work of building trust in those that you expect to work so that we can  move forward together.  As a young family who has had to move 4 times in six years due to being priced out of rental properties in this community I am all too aware of the housing crisis we are currently facing.  All businesses are losing well paid employees because they can not find a place to live. Seniors on fixed incomes are living in their cars because there are no options for them in town.  We can’t attract nurses or paramedics to the area. If we as a community want the downtown to be filled with business, if we want to keep our healthcare staff here, if we want more services and a vibrant community, if we want the positions at town hall to be filled,  if we want to ensure our… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Lucas Cleveland
Lucas Cleveland
4 October 2022 1:35 pm

(Part 2) As I tend to only speak to the things I know well, I am excited to have so many councilors running with varied experience and knowledge so that this council will represent the diverse population, experience and interests of today’s Cobourg. There is one truth I know that is not up for debate. There is one thing that I can do as mayor. There is one aspect of the issue that is undeniable no matter your opinion or position…. we need more MONEY to do anything of real significance. We need money from the County, from the province and from the feds to address this massive and complex issue. No one wants to raise our taxes and the town of Cobourg is not in a financial position to start building homes, (nor should they try) and we don’t have access to the amount of capital needed to incentivize the right kind of development for this community. (again im not saying what that is). There have been several very successful models of affordable housing built in Cobourg in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s and thousands more examples of communities similar to our making significant progress on the issues. All of them require more funding to make happen.  So what do I know? I know that the mayor has two major functions, one is to lead council, the other is to be the spokesperson for Cobourg. To represent Cobourg to all levels of government and the public. This is where I can excel and why you should consider voting for me. As the old saying goes, a squeaky wheel is always the one that gets the grease. No matter what you want to accomplish in life the first thing you need to do is get attention. You can’t do anything if no one is listening or cares. After speaking with both… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Lucas Cleveland
Lucas Cleveland
4 October 2022 1:33 pm

(part 3) All of our politicians want to be seen as helping,  all of our politicians want to be recognized for what they are doing,  all politicians have to make decisions about where limited resources are allocated and want the most publicity and voter recognition for allocating them.  Therefore it follows that  if the Mayor of Cobourg is the one making the most noise,  gaining the most attention, and using 20 years of marketing, sales and attention grabbing experience to  create an opportunity for the county, province and feds to “come to the rescue” then maybe we could be more successful at attracting needed resources.   As someone who is a natural showman and salesman, as someone who has always existed and excelled  in the corporate world,  things like raising capital, allowing those around me to receive the praise, working hard behind the scenes and gaining the attention of the masses, employees, and shareholders where all just part and parcel of my job description and required skill set. Now unseating an incumbent mayor in any small town is literally the hardest thing to do in Canadian politics. The stats say it can’t be done and I’m always trying to accomplish the impossible,  I’ve built a career and reputation across industries doing just that.  I ask all of you,  could there be a better way to really get everyone’s attention in the county, province and potentially the country then to elect a charismatic, energetic, and ‘occasionally’ polarizing 42 year old local businessman who says it like it is and is always willing to do what it takes for the benefit of the community he moved here to raise his family in? Folks, before we do anything on the housing front which is desperately needed, before I  spend all the time learning… Read more »

Lucas Cleveland
4 October 2022 1:32 pm

Part 4 

Perhaps if we elect people who understand modern marketing, who have been trained and have successfully used advanced communication and leadership techniques to drive change in large organizations, who know how to leverage the free and useful algorithms of social media, who are natural and charismatic leaders, who have decades of networking and business relationship building, who are natural showpeople, who have numerous contacts from university working at the provincial and federal levels, who are trained to take a back seat and give the credit to those who need it to get the job done, and who don’t mind not being liked by some in this community if it means job that needs doing gets done , Maybe then will we be better at getting the attention of those who control where the funds flow and we can really start making progress.

If you want to get anything done, be it drilling an oil well, navigating complex environmental regulations, rebrand a restaurant, sell carrots, start a business from scratch, build a new business model or try to solve the most complex social issues facing our community, or just talk to someone, the first thing required is to get the right people to start paying attention. 
Let’s start electing leaders who know how to get the right people’s attention! Let’s start electing people who are open to admitting they don’t know everything but focus 100% of their energy into what they can do and who pride themselves on their need to be continually learning, updating their ideas and getting constant input from the community they serve. Let’s start electing leaders who know how to generate momentum and are able to get and hold the attention needed so that we can start seeing the resources available head in our direction.

( to be continued )

Last edited 2 months ago by Lucas Cleveland
Lucas Cleveland
4 October 2022 1:30 pm

Part 5 (the end I promise)  Thank you all for participating in these discussions and caring about this community so much.  If you are still reading along, thank you for that too.  This thank you especially goes out to all of you who do not think I would make a good mayor and who doubt my intentions or qualifications.  I didn’t run to be liked by all. I didn’t run for the title or the money.  As a lifelong political student I  know that we need vigorous debate and disagreement to ensure our democracy is vibrant and healthy. I encourage you to keep asking the hard questions and holding our leadership to account.   I ran because our democracy needed a choice,  I ran because I believe the mayor needs to be a proven, charamsic  and inspirational leader,  I ran because I love this town and I want to see it start getting ahead of the problems instead of always reacting to them after the fact,  I ran because I chose this community to be the place I raise my family and I’m tired of watching problems pile up, I ran because I want to see Cobourg unlock its potential and I think I have a set of skills that are in desperate need moving forward.   It’s 100% okay if you don’t share that belief and I encourage you to reach out to me directly one on one about your comments, concerns or criticisms.  I have and I will always make myself available to everyone in this community (even the haters, I’m looking at you Frenchy, ;)) just so that I can continually learn from all of you,  so I can be the hardest worker in the room always and so that  I continue to try and improve as a… Read more »

ben
Reply to  Lucas Cleveland
4 October 2022 3:49 pm

Okay having read all five posts where you expound a lot about having to do a better job and get more money to build affordable housing how about publishing the next stage of your strategy – how to do it, how to get more money and what you are going to do with it?

Lucas Cleveland
Reply to  ben
5 October 2022 9:45 am

Ben, Thanks for reading. Explaining how political maneuvering and posturing works, trying to get into the nitty gritty of how things are actually accomplished in the real world of county, provincial and federal politics is not something to start explaining in a blog comment post nor is it something that I have time for currently as job number one is trying to accomplish the impossible, unseat an incumbent mayor in a small town. So right now that is my only job. Call me to chat in depth please for specifics. The reality of the matter is the public has a choice now, there are a ton of things to take into account and the ability to get very hard jobs done is just one of them. So the public now has a choice of Mayor because I was willing to take a break from my career to serve this community. People are free to choose the guy who has been at the table for 12 years, who keeps saying what everyone wants to hear, who says that we are doing a great job and we need to keep doing things the same way, and who spent his entire career either in a classroom or as an administrator overseeing a school which while a noble, valued and much needed professions, they do not necessarily encourage thinking outside of the box like entrepreneurship does or rethinking the way institutions work because his job was maintaining the status quo of institutions. The public now has the option to try something new and can vote for someone who has survived and thrived in an ever changing and fast paced corporate world, someone who has had to work with very diverse and large teams of people to get huge projects completed on time and in… Read more »

Rational
Reply to  Lucas Cleveland
5 October 2022 10:00 am

While your comments are very valid, in my view they are too long for this type of Blog. I find I am starting to tune out.

Hhmmm
Reply to  Lucas Cleveland
5 October 2022 10:28 am

You have said you aren’t about ego. Someone needs to give you feedback before posting because that is ALL I read in your responses. How great you are. How you can solve all the problems. How you’ve done us all a favour by simply running. Tell us what you did, and how you have been successful. You started telling people you aren’t a politician but this isn’t the first time you have run for office. You ran for the NDP party in Alberta. Your stuff reads a lot like Nicole’s stuff.
You talk about all the successes you’ve had – the oil industry pays well. And on the other side of that argument, you tell us that you can’t afford to live in Cobourg. The housing market wasn’t nearly as bad when you moved here as it is now. Were you not compensated for all your work and success in the private sector?
I’m not trying to be contrary, just offering the feedback you have asked for.
When you apply math and common sense, it’s hard to rationally follow your responses. This blog is a risky place to do that as many of the readers are educated and embrace critical thinking.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Lucas Cleveland
5 October 2022 8:30 am

As John said in his original post – there isn’t much on your website about this issue, so I wouldn’t say it’s actually part of your campaign platform, but you are talking about it an awful lot. During the last municipal election, all the candidates did the same thing. This isn’t new. Your response seems to be that you want to get all the people who need to be on the bus, on the bus. I would argue they have been on the bus for a long time. So, where are you going to drive it? This has nothing to do with hate. It’s frustrating when you get people all excited about something like getting a place to live and the plan in these posts is, essentially we need more money. Of course, we do. We always will. What will you do with that money? Where does the land come from? How does a governmental body all of a sudden become efficient when spending public money? How are these properties managed? How are they built? If the government is at the helm, which government? What is the control structure? Why would Cobourg get the funding over Peterborough, Belleville, Oshawa? They have more people affected by homelessness and they have more resources to be able to maintain sustainable living in a possible project that could be built. How do you subsidize private builders for a sustained period of time (not just a single construction grant)? Why would you expect them to leave money on the table? What is the actual plan? You’ve also said that you need to get the ‘experts’ together. They are together. It feels insulting to hear that. How can they control jobs and land and skilled labour and materials and, let’s not forget inflation? Point to a… Read more »

Lucas Cleveland
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
5 October 2022 10:27 am

Mike that’s one way to look at it. Not all of us are seasoned developers as you are and while you are right in the problems you point out and the questions you ask are good ones it is unfortunate that you demand a ‘plan’? What exactly would the purpose of that be? To have me play the game where we pretend that getting things done is as simple as having a good plan? The plan will depend on the specifics like how much money, timelines, the council make up, the ability of the mayor to get provincial fund or the county on board, the specific developers we are dealing with etc, etc etc. You are a seasoned business person with a great education so I am not really sure what your point is here? Anyone who understands complex organizations and who has been as successful in business as you have would undoubtedly know that any plan is only good until the first thing that doesn’t go to plan happens. It’s the people tasked to the job ability to adapt and modify the plan that matters. Yes I’m aware of the realities of backroom politics, the realities of dealing with a variety of interest groups, the realities of land value, building costs and how housing is a political landmine but I’m not an expert, and I won’t ever claim to be, and that is not the Mayor’s job to be one. Isn’t that why you are running? To add your valuable knowledge and past experience as a developer to the task? To use your experience to help all of those in our community including the less fortunate? To address the number one issue that is concerning all of our residents? I’m encouraged that we are both running because with my… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Lucas Cleveland
ben
Reply to  Lucas Cleveland
5 October 2022 11:34 am

Hmmm
” it is unfortunate that you demand a ‘plan’?”

It is indeed unfortunate that you fog off a plan with a bunch of unknown/intangibles. Surely a Strategic Plan is just that a bunch of objectives to be filled in with known facts and figures.

All I am asking is to see your framework not absolute costings. Otherwise all of the prose you have written may be just bafflegab to the knowledgable.

I can tell you as a person who has been on Council more than a couple of times you can write-off the first year as a learning curve and learning who really controls the levers of power, the second will be implementing the plan (whatever that is going to be) and the third you might have shovels in the ground. But by then you will have realised that the speed of development and the County’s lethargic and bureaucratic ways has impeded the enthusiasm you obviously demonstrate

Go ahead prove me wrong!

Last edited 2 months ago by ben
Rob
Reply to  Lucas Cleveland
5 October 2022 12:05 pm

Mike
“Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.”
Philosopher and Heavy Weight Champion, Iron Mike Tyson

“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week” George Patton

Lucas
I favour progress ahead of perfection….

Last edited 2 months ago by Rob
Hhmmm
Reply to  Rob
5 October 2022 12:45 pm

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time” — Zig Ziglar

“A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves as something to aim at” — Bruce Lee

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else” — Lawrence J. Peter

Can do this all day – and you can find a quote for every mindset you decide to take.

Bryan
Reply to  Hhmmm
5 October 2022 1:18 pm

Hhmmm,

3M corporate motto: “Ready, Fire, Aim”

3M is a very successful company known for innovation. Their motto recognizes that innovation and progress are error prone and messy.
3M encourages taking “calculated risk”, trying things, and accepts failure as a necessary part of learning and progress

“The government you elect is the government you deserve.”
― Thomas Jefferson

Do you prefer:
bland pale beige, no leadership, not a team builder, very risk adverse, “this is the way we’ve always done it”, fluffy no content communicator, not a doer

or

a communicator, teambuilder, “calculated risk” taker, problem solver, successful doer

Last edited 2 months ago by Bryan
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bryan
5 October 2022 2:11 pm

Do you prefer to be:
a noun
or
a verb?

And

mediocrity has been overdone.

Last edited 2 months ago by Wally Keeler
Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Lucas Cleveland
5 October 2022 10:00 pm

“What exactly would the purpose of that be?” As you have correctly stated, unseating an incumbent mayor is difficult. A plan demonstrates that you have some insight, and a willingness to stand behind something. What I interpret your plan to be is essentially that you will get people to work together. That is a noble endeavour. I am not faulting you for that. The people are already working together though. Some of them are very good at their jobs. Are you going to get them to work together better? I’m not demanding anything. I have never said that “getting things done is as simple as having a good plan”. Getting things done is rarely simple. As you correctly point out, I have worked for myself for a very long time. What a plan does is demonstrate that you’ve done enough due diligence to move forward. You need direction to make progress. You will almost definitely have to deviate, especially in Municipal Politics. The reason voters ask for a plan is not to hold you to it. It’s to evaluate the skills you say you have. You also say that you don’t know a lot about this subject, that you are going to turn to the experts. Turn to them for what? What are you going to ask of them that hasn’t already been asked? A couple things that need to be made clear: I am not running on a platform of affordable or attainable housing. I’m also not a developer in any traditional sense of the word. I take on projects. I’m a problem solver and creative thinker. I am a doer. I publish answers to questions with specifics, every day. People might not like those answers but the overwhelming feedback has been that they appreciate getting the answers anyway.… Read more »

Keith Oliver
2 October 2022 2:35 am

Growing up in Montreal during the 1940s and 50s, my parents moved twice so that I could walk safely to school. We lived in a healthy neighbourhood with a variety of other families that included a respectable mix of English and French speakers. At the end of our block there was a butcher shop with a few essntial groceries, a drug store with a soda bar, a shoe repair shop and a hair salon. It also had a bus stop.

Everyone knew each other. Stay at home mother’s took care of the kids, not daycare services. We paid $98 a month rent for years in a city where rental housing was the norm. Sunday was a day of rest with all stores closed. It wasa day where a family with a car would invite another to go for a Sunday drive and a picnic. Driving home in the early evening the adults would sing the old songs. Us kids in the back seat soon learned the words .Life was good.

This is not nostalgia. It’s a description of a healthy and inclusive lifestyle.

What went wrong? Until there is a focused, non-political, authoritative undertaking to find out why we’re in the housing mess and the soul destroying scramble for more income that we’re in, we will never find a solution.

Last edited 2 months ago by Keith Oliver
Keith Oliver
1 October 2022 9:43 pm

I see five basic issues that are at the heart of the lack of housing that is “affordable and available to all”. One … the simple lack of a sufficient supply of housing in general. Two … the fact that with very minor exceptions housing is still “stick-built” as it has been ever since the introduction of standard sized, pre-manufactured lumber over a hundred years ago Three … the general resistance against any type of housing other than a single family home on a large lot that looks different from all the others. Four … the bias against introducing into the free-market capitalist economy, entities such as not-for-profit housing corporations to compete with their for-profit brothers. Five … the strange inability of elected forms of government, after extensive consultations, to set out clear goals and a deadline for achieving those goals. The answers to the above can be found in examples that exist elsewhere but are never examined and introduced into any debate. From Sweden, to Vienna, to Finland, to Toronto, to Brazil, to Britain, etc, to re-fabricated concete foundatins, to new building technology manufacturing corporations in Canada … examples abound everywhere which we ignore, close our minds to. Thinking, testing new ideas, and organizing “outside the box”, is an extremely difficult thing for humans to do, especialy in large groups. All too often the status quo is too easily accepted as the reason why nothing can be done except to call for yet another study. As to statements make in this blog by others, successful affordable housing has nothing to do with affordable (cheap?) land, and the integration of housing-for-all, including all age groups, is an achievable priority with many other highly desiresble consequences, both material and social. I pity the younger generation if all this generation can do… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Keith Oliver
Sandpiper
30 September 2022 10:38 am

Well the present Mayor has talked alot about this as has Ms Beatty Councilor yet nothing truly affordable has com out of it over the last Terms in office Subsidized by the Tax Payers – yes ! There has been a serious increase in cost for everyone including seniors and retirees You have not seen any increases in OAS , CPP ,ODSP over the last decade that amounts to anything resembling inflation . Affordable Housing starts with afford able land . Mixed use may not be the answer either , Seniors require different life style, safety, and amenities , to young families . The wear and tear factor is an issue when it comes to young families & children . they require schools & play areas , seniors need Security, medical , ease of transportation etc . The other factor driving up housing cost now in this area & Can. are the Pre construction investors . Involved in & of new & existing housing . Its be come an investment tool not a Home . They are rented out to new immigrants as multi generational housing or by the room now generating huge rental returns , and now the Assignment sales are showing up on new construction where buyers are hoping to cash in on big returns over the last few years of housing appreciation of 20+ % and more over the last few yrs and never having their names show up on the Titles . Taxable ??. But what can we expect when supply & demand factors are created & kick in as big and foreign investors are using our housing market and creating investment scenarios when the rest of Canadians just need a house . Builders & Banks can’t be ignored either as they love preconstruction sales that… Read more »

Gailr
Reply to  Sandpiper
30 September 2022 11:10 am

Thank you, Sandpiper, for laying a lot of the blame where it should be laid – on ‘investors’, for which read speculators. I very much hope that a lot of them have been truly bitten in the current turndown. Why this speculation has not been jumped on by federal authorities is beyond me. We know that Doug Ford as a friend of the development industry.

Alex
Reply to  Gailr
1 October 2022 7:05 am

100% true! Developer, investors and a lack of political will to stand up to them are to blame. And mostly not foreign investors, but other Canadians and corporations.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Alex
1 October 2022 12:22 pm

Developers and Investors – two very different animals. Developers are building – often to sell – we need them to do that. Investors are buying (as Sandpiper said) and flipping or renting or sitting with them empty and watching them appreciate. The small benefit we might see is a few units added to the rental pool (maybe). Developers are creating jobs, resources for property tax income, utility income and more jobs in the long term to service these properties (landscaping, cleaning, repairs, etc).
Sometimes investors can benefit developers because they provide the capital to get projects off the ground or get enough sales on the books to get a bank on board to finance the development.
If more supply wasn’t being added in Cobourg, housing prices would be even higher than they already are. If nothing else, Cobourg is desirable because of its location alone. When the VIA starts stopping here again, it certainly won’t make house prices go down.

Marie
30 September 2022 9:14 am

There are many factors that make houses AFFORDABLE.
Older generations were quite happy in “NO FRILL” housing.
Why is it that such “no frills” semi detached houses on narrow lots with gravel drive, no garage nor landscaping are not available today? Many blog contributors had touched on this aspect.

Back in the 60’s not only would a first time buyer find such “no-frills” houses, but also the Ontario Government had the H.O.M.E. plan specifically aimed at first time buyers.
What it amounted to was a “no frills” home on land that optionally could be leased – rather than bought. This cut payments to almost half. One had the option to buy the land at a later time.
To discourage speculation there were reasonable restrictions on how much “profit” an owner could make on a future resale. This program helped us and many others to get into their first home. I have no idea when this arrangement ended and why it is no longer offered.

The Town considers to give away municipal lands to developers to bring down home prices. 
I would suggest the town leases the land to the homebuyer(a much more equitable solution for all residents).
I don’t know why the land lease, common in England and the Continent, is not part of the Canadian “tool box” of making HOME ownership affordable. 

Is it that nowadays people expect too much?
Are developers too profit centred?
Are our various levels of Government “thinking only inside the box”?

Merle Gingrich
Reply to  Marie
30 September 2022 9:51 am

My first house in Kitchener was a ” no frills” house, but we owned the property as well. Paid $18,000.00 and sold for $100,000.00, a semi detached.

Jeffy
Reply to  Marie
30 September 2022 12:42 pm

Good luck getting a mortgage for a home on leased lot. Banks consider that house chattel, not real property.

Alex
Reply to  Jeffy
1 October 2022 7:09 am

Write legislation forcing banks to. Not like they CAN’T afford it, they just don’t want to.

Marie
Reply to  Alex
1 October 2022 9:11 am

I did have a mortgage on the home on leased land. I am not privy to legal details. Maybe the Ontario H.O.M.E. (home ownership made easy) plan had made appropriate arrangements? Back in the 60’s and probably 70’s all semis and town homes (several hundreds) in Bramalea (now Brampton) were built under the H.O.M.E plan. If indeed Jeffy (see above) is correct – then I wonder what circumstances “killed” this most helpful tool for first time home buyers….
Pity!

Alex
Reply to  Marie
1 October 2022 7:09 am

Because developers and investors don’t make bank on affordable houses. They make their profits on larger houses.
There’s been a decades long campaign against any government purchasing or building homes and getting involved because government bad and all privatization good…
It’s hilarious, but not, because it’s resulted in precarious housing and houselessness.

Informed
Reply to  Marie
1 October 2022 11:55 am

Ever see all the new trucks on the road that kids in their 20s drive? 700/800 a month payments over 6 or 7 years not to mention the gas and insurance. Drive a $3000 beater and save for a house!

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Informed
1 October 2022 12:40 pm

If only they taught the kids this in school. They make themselves feel better because they “deserve” something nice but that car they are driving destroys their service-to-debt ratio when going for a mortgage. I give this speech to every young person I know. My kids have been hearing it for years. People need to understand how to build credit responsibly in order to be able to qualify for that house and carry a little bit of debt. Your credit rating is a valuable tool you can leverage to improve your life. The secret is, that $6,000 car loan is just as effective as the $80,000 one. The difference is, the $6,000 car will still get you there but it won’t compromise your service-to-debt ratio – just, perhaps your style.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
2 October 2022 2:08 am

Micheal

While being prudent with ones’ income and expecting less in material possessions as some kind of human right is good advice, it does nothing to increase the supply of housing, reduce the nauseating annual percentage increase in the cost of housing, and offer a wider choice in housing types and sizes.

Last edited 2 months ago by Keith Oliver
Informed
Reply to  Keith Oliver
2 October 2022 7:17 am

I don’t believe it was meant to be . It was a response to a comment and observation I made.

Last edited 2 months ago by Informed
Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Keith Oliver
2 October 2022 8:11 am

Keith – you’re right. It doesn’t. Wasn’t supposed to. What it does do for individuals is provide them with more options and opportunities. There are less opportunities to be taken advantage of (payday loans, higher interest because you are higher risk). It gives people the chance to be more active in their own decision making. It helps them to be able to start somewhere.

These are realities. Based in where we are with what we have.

Your choices will influence your life.

Personal responsibility. Personal sacrifice. Making good choices that are hard sometimes. Deciding where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. Let’s just assume that no one is going to do it for you. Then, if a hand up does come along on the way, you have the opportunity to be grateful.

Kevin
30 September 2022 8:31 am

One of the problems with housing prices is size. Check how large our average house has become over the last half of the 20th century. We have a lower birthrate and smaller families but bigger houses. Bigger houses cost more to build, heat, maintain. Things do not last as long as they used to. How long did you have that last coffee maker, the one that uses pods? Replacing appliances more often increases the costs of owning a house. A steel bathtub could last for a few decades but the new tiled showers being installed sometimes need to be replaced after a few years due to poor workmanship. Fire and electrical safety standards have increased to the point where it makes housing more expensive. Most circuits in a house need to be protected with an ACFI circuit breaker. These breakers are expensive. Do you know what they are and how to test them? Smoke detectors, with strobe lights, need to be installed in each bedroom. Do you test all your smoke alarms once a month and replace them about every 10 years? (there is a replacement date on them, if yours does not have a replacement date it is too old) Smaller houses with fewer bedrooms require less smoke detectors and ACFI breakers. Simpler appliances (do not connect to internet for example) are likely to last longer. All these little things add up to reduce the costs of owning a house. Unless our mayor is going to require builders to build smaller houses there is not much he will be able to do regarding costs. (we know property taxes are not going to be reduced).

Ken
Reply to  Kevin
30 September 2022 10:51 am

That’s right Kevin! What’s wrong with ‘tiny’ houses? My parents first house was a two bedroom, not much more than 800 square feet. It was fine for my parents, brother and I growing up in the fifties in York Township, now part of Toronto! The first house my wife and I bought, in North York in 1973, was a 900 square foot, 2 bedroom. It was fine for our first two children, but when a third came along we just added 360 square feet to the bungalow! Shortly after we moved, the house was taken down and a ‘monster’ home went in! Doesn’t say much for the KISS method of thinking…..keep it simple stupid! Oh, well, how times have changed.

ben
Reply to  Ken
30 September 2022 5:14 pm

Well try this on for size and apportion blame/ give kudos. Stalwood is now marketing 600sf ‘studios’ for over $300,000.

Will this solve any affordable home crisis, I highly doubt it but please prove me wrong with the cheap cost of money these days.

ben
29 September 2022 6:47 pm

I think that if you look at the remarks of the Council incumbents the majority, despite what they said four years ago are quite happy to have the political cop-out, supported by many on this Board, that it’s not low-income housing and the lack of it that produces homelessness, is not Cobourg’s problem but the County’s.

However now that the responsibility is at the County and the Mayor of the Town sits on the County Council it is incumbent on them, the Mayoral candidates, to make their positions known. If they fail to do so they certainly don’t deserve to be at the County – ergo not worthy to be a Mayor!

Dave
29 September 2022 1:31 pm

First step – ensure the Federal government is on board and made aware. Until the housing and other community services such as health care and a multitude of others are adequate for the population stop immigration. First get the problems solved before adding to the problem.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dave
29 September 2022 2:08 pm

“…get the problems solved before adding to the problem.

That assertion is the problem. We need lots and lots of entrepreneurial immigrants that create businesses that hire Canadian-borns. There are lots of them in the world chomping at the bit to exploit the opportunities of Canada. We are enriched by immigrant professionals (law, health, entertainment). Also, we bring refugees, exiles, from assorted dictatorshits and these folks have a profound sense of love for freedom and justice.

These people do not cause problems; they create solutions.

I’m not advocating unbridled immigration. I want vetting to minimize the entry of criminals. Some criminals do get in, and yes we do grow our own. Life ain’t perfect. And neither is your assertion.

Dave
Reply to  Wally Keeler
1 October 2022 6:19 pm

Wally, sometimes you simply amaze me! From a statement I made about available supply and stressed demand for housing available to the number of people residing in Canada which has caused rental prices to double in the past few years you turned my comment into a comment that somehow I meant some immigrants were less interested in working. It is a matter of supply and demand which our wonderous Federal government has not prepared for. Would you invite 50 people to a dinner equipped to serve 20? Here you are – 2 oz of meat and 1/8 potato – sorry we ran out of food as the host decided to invite way more than the dinner can serve. Stick to what the comments are not what you try and make them to be. Don’t add and twist things to commentors’ posts.

Frenchy
Reply to  Dave
1 October 2022 9:44 pm

“Stick to what the comments are not what you try and make them to be. Don’t add and twist things to commentors’ posts.”
Hear, hear.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dave
1 October 2022 10:45 pm

“Would you invite 50 people to a dinner equipped to serve 20? Here you are – 2 oz of meat and 1/8 potato – sorry we ran out of food as the host decided to invite way more than the dinner can serve.“ Immigrants have been coming to this country since its inception. It was not a dinner party invitation. What a sophomoric analogy! Irish immigrants fled the potato famine, many landed on Victoria Park beach (uninvited) before going up to Peterborough area. They had no dental care, no health care, no care at all, other than ‘welcome to Canada, go make a life for yourself’. It was like that for most of our history. Immigrants didn’t get any handouts other than land in the early years, but they worked the land or perished. Hardscrabble. Despite that, they built a great country, which is the whole point of immigration. Canada is wealthier today than it was in 1880, or 1910 or 1940 or 1970, so we can afford to assist the integration of some immigrants to speed up their productivity. Immigrants are more resourceful than you give credit. Back in the 90’s I worked with Romany refugees that were fleeing violence in Czechoslovakia, Hungary. They are Europe’s most detested people. Gadjo Dilo is a portrayal of their situation. https://youtu.be/JIxLVULbkR0 The first wave arrived in Canada just before harvesting time in the Niagara peninsula. I spoke with one apple picker and he was as happy as he had ever been. Why? “Because I am free and safe because no one knows I am a gypsy.” He has a family and works all the jobs our tender sensitive Canadian born are too spoiled to fill. That refugee was grateful, and many others as well. Just to provide balance, I also knew of… Read more »

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dave
2 October 2022 5:00 pm

Silly person. I neither twisted nor added to your sentence. That is your projection. I replied, “That assertion is the problem.” There was no pronoun in that sentence and therefore no personal reference to you whatsoever. The rest of my comment asserted only information and none of it made any reference to you or anything else you said. The last sentence, “And neither is your assertion.” That was in reference to the notion that immigrants in general present a problem to Canada. I twisted nothing; I challenged that assertion. Btw, I like it when individuals tell me that they are sometimes amazed by me. I also organize unique parades just for the fun of it.

Kevin
Reply to  Dave
30 September 2022 7:51 am

If we stop immigration who will take care of people in long-term care homes, serve coffee and build houses? There are lots of problems to solve, like affordable housing. Reducing immigration puts less demand on housing and could lower prices. But stopping immigration could cause other problems.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Kevin
15 October 2022 8:02 pm

“other problems ” such as irregular (illegal) immigrants that is way out of control but apparently welcomed by the government t?

cornbread
Reply to  Dave
30 September 2022 8:55 am

I agree, the Feds should have been smarter with immigration 50 years ago. Our large cities are not safe anymore…illegal guns & knives abound and now a huge increase in car jackings, let alone car thefts. The press does not give Id’s to the criminals because there would be an even larger backlash on the government of the day, both Liberal and Conservative.

Sandpiper
Reply to  cornbread
30 September 2022 9:36 am

Not to mention they get phenomenal financial support and you can not force them to work which was the reasoning used for immigration in the first place Canadas ageing population .

Alex
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 October 2022 7:15 am

Immigrants typically work more than native born Canadians and the financial aid isn’t all that great. No one needs to force them to do anything.

Alex
Reply to  cornbread
1 October 2022 7:26 am

That’s bullshit. Crime rates in immigrant population are lower than in native Canadian born people.
“A 10% increase in the recent-immigrant share or established-immigrant share decreases the property crime rate by 2% to 3%.” – study out of UBC http://www.clsrn.econ.ubc.ca/workingpapers/CLSRN%20Working%20Paper%20no.%20135%20-%20Zhang.pdf

“Dr Maria Jung, a researcher out of Ryerson university, cites several previous studies that found either no relationship between immigration and crime or, in some cases, a correlation between increased immigration numbers and lower crime rates, using a variety of measures of population and of crime. Her study looks at 32 census metropolitan areas (cities) across Canada over 35 years.

Her main conclusion is: “After controlling for demographic and socio-economic factors, increases in the index measure for immigration were associated with decreases in the total and violent crime rates within Canadian cities for the 1976–2011 period.”

Far from more immigrants being related to more crime, “… in cities where the proportion of immigrants in the population grew, crime rates dropped; and in cities where the proportion of immigrants decreased, crime rates went up.” In other words, more immigrants seem to mean less crime.”

Immigration doesn’t cause crime. Get that silly talking point out of your mind.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Alex
1 October 2022 2:52 pm

Interesting statistics that you cite. If immigrants reduce crime how do you explain that virtually every Toronto crime report on TV/newspaper involves immigrants — mostly from the Caribbean or Africa? Adjusting for socio-economic factors is to confuse the obvious conclusion that a huge proportion of GTA crimes are committed by immigrants from certain regions.

ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 October 2022 4:56 pm

Ken, please source this statement, perhaps these criminals are 2nd, 3rd generation but you can’t tell the difference because they are black. Besides they don’t wear heredity labels.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
1 October 2022 6:47 pm

Ben, “source this statement”? Any honest person will agree that a huge proportion of the criminal activity in the GTA is due to immigrants from a few regions.

ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
2 October 2022 8:56 am

Well let me do the sourcing for you but I highly doubt that you will be convinced:

This quote from a study by the IMMI group –What we clearly can observe is that the Crime Severity Index (and the Violent Crime Severity Index which does not include minor non-violent crimes) have clearly been on a downward trend for most of the period in question. When taken in conjunction with immigration rates into Canada, it seems clear that an increasing number of immigrants to Canada actually results in – or, rather, coincides with – a falling crime rate. The perception that immigrants cause a disproportionate share of crime is hard to square with the data.” comes from a page ( https://www.immigroup.com/topics/does-immigration-cause-more-crime) that references many sources, scroll to the end of the article to find them.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
2 October 2022 5:30 pm

…actually results in – or, rather, coincides with – a falling crime rate…

Ben, “coincides with” says it all! Coincidence does not imply causality.

Some (most?) immigrants are hard working and law abiding. If one watches the evening TV news it is pretty obvious that certain groups of immigrants are responsible for most of both the petty and violent crime in the GTA.

ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
2 October 2022 6:43 pm

I would have bet money you would have said that Ken! Says a lot about you and the way you interpret and comprehend the news.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
2 October 2022 8:08 pm

Ben, no “interpretation” is required to see who commits the crimes.

cornbread
Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 October 2022 6:54 am

Car theft up about 45% and car jacking up over 225% vs. Last year in Toronto.

ben
Reply to  cornbread
4 October 2022 3:52 pm

OK cornbread we know that but do you know for sure that immigrants perpetrated these acts?

Rob
Reply to  cornbread
5 October 2022 8:45 am

Car thefts are up in large part because of the availability of “inventory” of new cars sitting in our driveways – the bottleneck in the supply chain was a deterrent as thieves didn’t want older models – same risk/less value. With 2022 and 2023 models available thefts have increased.

Why Torontonians are facing a ‘staggering’ spike in auto thefts — and what police are doing about it | CBC News

Last edited 2 months ago by Rob
Merle Gingrich
Reply to  Dave
30 September 2022 8:56 am

Dave, getting the Liberal government on board? What a request, they haven’t gotten on board with anything, just talking points. In 2015 they promised to get clean water problems cleaned up on Indian Reservations, still a problem.

ben
Reply to  Merle Gingrich
30 September 2022 5:24 pm

Taken from the Lib election website – shows big progress since 2015, I guess the job was bigger than first thought Merle, Problem fixed for many reserves. It’s a work in progress!

We have taken strong action and invested over $4 billion in 535 water infrastructure projects, including 99 new water plants and 436 plant upgrades. As a result, Indigenous communities have been able to lift 109 long-term water advisories, which includes lifting all advisories in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada; prevent 188 short-term advisories from becoming long term ones; provide communities with funding to cover up to 100% of the costs, of maintaining their water infrastructure and ensure clean water for their communities. In every community with a long-term drinking water advisory, there is a project team and action plan in place to resolve it.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ben
30 September 2022 5:47 pm

Thanks bunches for that info, Ben. The water issue always bothered me, so it is heartening to know that some progress has been made and I trust this will continue.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Dave
30 September 2022 10:05 am

Dave

The significant reduction in the number of immigrants entering Canada during the pandemic is one of several important factors that has resulted in one million unfilled jobs across Canada. Our strength lies in our diversity.

Respect our constitution, our rule-of-law, our parlimenty form of democracy and do unto others as you would have them do unto you and I, as a sixth generation Canadian, would say “welcome”.

Dave
Reply to  Keith Oliver
30 September 2022 10:59 am

Keith Oliver – Let me then clarify for you Keith. My statement was not against immigration itself – in fact I am second generation. But about the simple fact if you do not have the structure to accommodate the new arrivals. “Welcome to Canada people unfortunately we presently cannot provide you with housing or services please feel free to scramble for housing, health care, you probably will not be able to find a doctor housing that not as yet built because we haven’t prepared for such for the people that currently live here”. I did not make a statement against immigration. The government has neglected the building of these services. As for unfilled jobs that is another story.

Did you hear about the Romans Keith when they invaded another nation? Their leader proclaimed Veni Vedi Vici – the army of the invaded heard it as Weany, Weedy, Weaky and turned tail and ran. Perhaps life in Canada has made the population too soft and that is why we have so many job vacancies and unemployed people who have found a softer way.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dave
30 September 2022 1:51 pm

Welcome to Canada people unfortunately we presently cannot provide you with housing or services please feel free to scramble for housing, health care, you probably will not be able to find a doctor housing that not as yet built because we haven’t prepared for such for the people that currently live here

I don’t know who you were quoting here, but immigrants throughout Canada’s history arrived without services provided, and they certainly scrambled. It was do that or perish.

Most immigrants come from countries that are much more difficult to live in than Canada. Scrambling back home gets them nowhere; but come to Canada and scrambling can have positive consequences. And for all that, we all benefit from their ambitions.

Last edited 2 months ago by Wally Keeler
Alex
Reply to  Dave
1 October 2022 7:30 am

Our employment rate is at a historic high. What do you mean Canadians found a “softer way”? That’s not true. More of us are working as many hours and receiving less from for it.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
30 September 2022 11:03 am

Our strength lies in our diversity.

There is only so much diversity that can be tolerated. Our dear leader denounced entire swaths of Canadians as misogynist, Islamophobes, homophobes, white bloodline nationalists, racists, transphobes, fascists, ad nauseum, ad nauseum, ad nauseum. According to our dear leader, these people take up space. Failed presidential candidate, Ms Hillary Clinton, called them a “basket of deplorables.”

Real diversity is the diversity of ideas, not the cancel culture creeps of today, nor the calls from governments to censor misinformation and disinformation. Throughout history censorship comes from the ruling class, not from the people up. Throughout history, censorship has caused more social damage than has free speech.

Bring on the diversity of ideas! Yes, recommendations for regime change are welcome. That includes municipal councils.