Work affordable housing into LRT plans, advocates urge
May 2, 2018
Source: Laura Osman, CBC News
Housing advocates in Ottawa want to make sure people with low incomes have access to prime real estate along future LRT routes before it’s too late.
Several affordable housing advocates addressed the city’s transportation committee Wednesday, where they urged councillors to set aside land to build housing for the people who need transit most.
State-of-the-art transit systems like the one Ottawa’s planning tend to drive up the value of real estate nearby, and drive people with low incomes out of those neighbourhoods, said Trevor Haché of the Healthy Transportation Coalition..
“We know that there’s a tremendous shortage of deeply affordable housing in Ottawa,” Haché said. He encouraged councillors to think creatively about how to solve that problem.
Build at park-and-rides
Parking lots, for example, are often dead spaces in off-peak hours. Haché said he uses the Eagleson park-and-ride — the most popular in the city — which is often deserted at night. Those spaces could be used for affordable housing as well, he said.
The city has a small window of opportunity during an LRT project to get ahead of the problem, said grad student Jesse Steinberg, who researches policy as it relates to public transit.
He said once the area around the transit line is built up it’s very difficult to find a place for low-income people.
Low-income residents squeezed
The city has taken on several major affordable housing projects along the its approved LRT routes, transportation general manager John Manconi told councillors.
He pointed to a mixed-income housing project on Gladstone Avenue and the LeBreton Flats development plan as examples.
But Coun. Catherine McKenney said low-income residents are already being squeezed out of parts of her downtown ward. She wants to see a working group of different departments established to maximize the amount of affordable housing along future LRT routes.
OPEN THE DOOR TO CO-OP HOUSING
Many low- and middle-income households in Ontario are feeling the squeeze in the housing market. Co-ops are part of the solution. We need all levels of government to come to the table to fix the affordable housing squeeze.
WE CALL ON ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT TO OPEN THE DOOR TO CO-OP HOUSING.