Staff directed to define affordability in Prince Edward County

Councillor Phil St. Jean (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)
OLIVIA TIMM

FOR THE GAZETTE

A Prince Edward County councillor’s resolution outlining how housing affordability is calculated is moving forward with full council support.

At the Feb. 11 Committee of the Whole meeting, Coun. Phil St. Jean directed staff to prepare a report clearly outlining what affordable housing is in Prince Edward County.

“This is not about one particular solution to affordable housing. I want to make that very clear,” he said. “What this is about is, first of all, defining clearly for not just council but for the public.”

St. Jean said it’s vital to define affordable housing, break down what it really means and to identify what the dollar amount is.

Sophiasburgh Councillor Bill Roberts (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

“Once we’ve achieved that, in my view, then you can formulate a plan to tackle the problem. We all know it’s a problem,” he said.

St. Jean referenced that in 2015, council received a 57-page housing policy outlining various ways to approach the topic. 

“Before we go that route, we need to know what the problem is you’re trying to solve. We need to start from somewhere,” he said. “It’s time we move forward and we owe it to the public to explain to them exactly what that means in Prince Edward County.”

He said in response to an email that he received from a ratepayer, he understands people are going to be upset.

“People are going to be angry. They are going to be upset in many ways when they see the truth. But we owe them the truth. We owe it to the public to let them know this is what the reality is in Prince Edward County and we also owe it to them to move forward and actually do something about it,” St. Jean said.

He also expects this would cause some modifications to the County Official Plan.

Coun. Bill Roberts suggested once the template is created, it could be updated quarterly to meet dynamic housing changes as well as dictating who is in charge of managing the data.

After the motion passed, members noted the importance of consulting the County Affordable Housing Corporation moving forward.

Staff are directed to prepare a report featuring available options through Land Use planning to achieve affordable ownership and rental housing, particularly within the Picton, Wellington and Rossmore secondary plans. 

The report will be brought back before council before the end of June