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National Housing Day: Downtown City property to become affordable housing

National Housing Day: Downtown City property to become affordable housing

National Housing Day: Downtown City property to become affordable housing

Downtown City property to become affordable housing

Nov. 22, 2019

This week, for National Housing Day, St. Catharines City Council has voted to transform an under-utilized downtown City property into affordable housing to help tackle the affordable housing crisis.

At its Council meeting on Monday night, City Council voted unanimously to surplus a city-owned property at 6-8 Academy St. for affordable housing through a request for proposals process that will be launched in early 2020.

“As we mark National Housing Day this week, I am proud that City Council has made a bold decision to take action on the affordable housing crisis,” stated Mayor Sendzik. “I’d like to thank Councillor Porter for getting the process started. We know this is only one part of the solution to a huge challenge. Taken together with the Housing Action Plan, updating our incentives programs and working with other partners, these actions will have impacts.”

Property declared “surplus”

The process began in 2018 when City Council made a motion directing staff to explore options to repurpose the Academy St. property for affordable housing. Located in the heart of downtown and next to the main bus terminal, the property is currently a single-story brick building that contains staff from fire prevention. With plans to move fire prevention staff into another new city-owned facility and the property zoned for mixed-medium-high density use, Council saw the opportunity to make use of the property for much-needed affordable housing.

Councillor Karrie Porter made the motion for Council to surplus the property for affordable housing. She stated, “All levels of government must do their part to create more affordable housing. With this direction City Council has taken an innovative approach to achieving maximum value and public good through use of our lands. It is a leap forward and I am proud that we are moving forward and sticking by our commitment to create a more affordable and livable community,” said Councillor Porter.

Next steps

The parameters for the new development will be established through a formal RFP that will be advertised by City in early 2020. A development committee of members of Council and staff will be involved in the development of the RFP and report back to Council. Details on the RFP will be available at the City’s website in early 2020.