On January 22, 2018, Town Council asked staff to provide them with recommendations regarding policies and procedures that could be considered in the creation of a Housing Action Plan, in cooperation with the Niagara Region and other not-for-profit organizations in Niagara. The action plan would include short-term and long-term strategies to address affordable housing issues without duplicating services already provided by the Region of Niagara.
During the March 19, Council-in-Committee meeting, Council approved the following recommendations from Staff:
- Meet with local stakeholders (United Way, Salvation Army, Port Cares, Niagara Community Foundation, Bridges etc.) to identify issues with respect to affordable housing in the municipality;
- Review and analyze the most current census, demographic and housing data for the Town;
- Review and clarify the various roles of the different levels of government and what roles and responsibilities are associated with each level (Province, Region of Niagara and the Town of Fort Erie);
- Review the policies in the current Provincial Policy Statement, Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Places to Grow) and Region of Niagara’s Official Plan;
- Review best practices within the Province and nationally including programs in St. Catharines, Markham, Barrie, Guelph and British Columbia;
- Review and consider information from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s “Municipal Tools for Affordable Housing” handbook, the Ministry of Housing’s “Fair Housing Plan” and the Region of Niagara’s “Homelessness Action Plan: A Home for All: Niagara’s 10-year Community Housing and Homelessness Action Plan”;
- Examine innovative options that are being utilized worldwide such as tiny homes, flex housing, and container or modular housing;
- Continue to participate in the Region’s Housing Affordability Innovation Working Group; and,
- Review the policies in the Town’s Official Plan, Zoning By-law, Community Improvement Plans and Development Charges By-law, focusing on potential amendments that can be undertaken to strengthen existing policies and/or create new policies, which lend better support to affordable housing projects throughout the municipality including: inclusionary zoning, density bonuses, and development charge rebates.
Research will be conducted internally by Planning and Development Staff and a report will be provided to Council in mid to late summer 2018.
Staff Report (March 19, 2018): Affordable Housing Action Plan (PDS-19-2018)