Bruce County officials ask for help to create more affordable housing

Wood framing in the early construction of an apartment complex. © Can Stock Photo / dbvirago

Bruce County municipalities are calling on the the Ontario government to provide more tools to build affordable housing. Yesterday, Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charbonneau and CAO Kara Van Myall joined Bruce County officials as they made that point at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA)’s virtual conference.

Local officials asked Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, to allow inclusionary zoning for all communities experiencing issues with housing affordability, instead of just larger cities. Charbonneau said inclusionary zoning would support the Town in requiring a certain percentage of affordable housing in new residential developments. He explained it is a policy tool that would help create more affordable housing within neighbourhoods providing housing options for a range of household incomes.

“Saugeen Shores is growing, and it’s growing quickly,” said Mayor Luke Charbonneau. “The Town needs more tools to help us take advantage of that growth and ensure that people can afford to live in our community.”

With record building permits and construction value in 2021, Saugeen Shores is one of the fastest growing communities in the country. Over the past several years, the Town has worked with builders to encourage new forms of development, many of which are now serviced and ready to build. There are opportunities for growth in Saugeen Shores, that if supported with additional tools, such as inclusionary zoning requirements, will help ensure that this growth meets the community’s needs, including increasing the supply of affordable housing.

The 2022 ROMA Conference is a key event for municipal and provincial officials to connect on the unique challenges faced by rural municipalities and is an opportunity to make sure that community needs are understood and addressed in policy platforms before Ontarians go to the polls in June.