Summerside making affordable housing crunch a top priority

Weeks after being sworn in, the new council is making plans to create an affordable housing policy.

'It's something that we're going to move on quickly, because it is of vital importance to our residents'

Members of Summerside's policy and bylaw review committee will begin holding discussions right away on an affordable housing policy. (CBC)

Weeks after being sworn in, Summerside's new council is making the city's housing shortage a priority, with plans to begin work immediately on an affordable housing policy.

"Some people don't think this is a city level problem," said policy and bylaw review committee chair Carrie Adams after a meeting Monday. "But … we're the closest to the people. We're the ones that are there, we're the ones that are listening to their needs."

Working with province, developers

The most recent numbers from the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation indicate a rental vacancy rate of 0.9 per cent in Summerside. 

Adams said she expects the committee to look at feasible short-term solutions to help address the housing shortage, but said it's also important to take a longer-term view. 

"We also have to look at putting the policies, bylaws in place for the future, so that we don't run into this kind of an issue again."

Summerside city councillor Carrie Adams chairs the bylaw and policy review committee. (Submitted)

Adams said she recognizes that the province is also working to address the issue with its own housing action plan. She said the committee plans to work with the province, as well as with developers. 

'Of vital importance to our residents'

Adams didn't know what the city's affordable housing policy will look like, or what ideas will be explored. She said a range of ideas and issues will likely be discussed when the committee meets on Wednesday.

"We are just going to put everything out there, and then see what we can do," she said. 

"It's not something we want to rush, but it's not something we're going to drag on either. It's something that we're going to move on quickly, because it is of vital importance to our residents."

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With files from Natalia Goodwin


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