January 18, 2018: Councillor’s Corner;
By Jeff Leiper, Councillor, Kitchissippi Ward.
Happy New Year, Kitchissippi! We hope that everyone had a restful holiday season. We’re back in the swing of things and excited to tackle all the challenges and opportunities 2018 has to offer.
Before the break, we were thrilled to pull off a successful tree-lighting ceremony in Roy Duncan Park. This year we got the whole tree lit; big thank you to Giant Tiger for the lights, Dovercourt for equipment, and Taggart Construction for the use of a cherry picker to string the tree.
One of the issues we’ll face in 2018 is the new inclusionary zoning regulations set forth for comment by Queen’s Park. Inclusionary zoning gives municipalities the power to force developers to include a portion of affordable housing in new housing developments.
This would be huge for Kitchissippi, as much of the growth happening inside the Greenbelt is happening here; not surprising when we consider how LRT will transform our neighbourhoods, placing five stations in our ward alone.
This growth increases property values. Without intervention, it’s likely there will be very little affordable housing in Kitchissippi in the coming decades. This creates barriers for many Ottawans to access transit in our ward, and will have a negative impact on our communities.
Unfortunately, I feel the inclusionary zoning regulations have some problems. Core issues include: the rules only apply to ownership; municipalities will be required to subsidize developers’ affordable units by 40%, cash-in-lieu of parkland and development charge waivers would be used as part of the subsidy; and, affordability would be defined at a neighbourhood, not city-wide level. You can read a detailed copy of the regulations on the blog, but ultimately I feel that these new inclusionary zoning regulations in their current state won’t be much help to Kitchissippi.
Essentially, cities will be required to set out locations in their Official Plans where inclusionary zoning rules would be applicable to buildings with 20 or more units. The affordable units would be limited to 5% of a development or 10% if the building is in a high demand area due to access to transit. Cities must then lay out a detailed housing plan and guarantee that units would be affordable for a minimum of 20 but a maximum of 30 years. Clearly, this is a complex issue that will require some careful thought. If you have ideas, please drop me a line.
As Kitchissippi continues to grow, we need to work together to ensure it’s the best it can be.
Don’t forget: our next Pop-Up Office will be held at Freshii in Westboro (342 Richmond Road) from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 27th. While January is giving us some winter weather, we may as well enjoy it. The SJAM Winter Trail is fully open, having reached its fundraising goal of $20,000. Thank you for keeping this pathway open and making our city just a little bit greater.
Photo Caption: Pictured here at the Hintonburg 5K Run, Kitchissippi community activist Jeff Leiper regularly bicycles to his job at City Hall. Photo by T. Hairbach.
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