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Friday, April 5, 2019

Regional Issues Discussed at Warden's Forum

Hanover | by Robyn Garvey  

Affordable and attainable housing, transportation and economic development among topics looked at by municipal politicians.

It was a full house at the Warden’s Forum, as municipal politicians and senior staff members came together to strategize on a few key issues.

Affordable and attainable housing, transportation challenges, economic development and the out migration of youth were just a few of the topics discussed.

The majority of the evening however was spent tackling affordable and attainable housing , specifically for our youth.

Without affordable housing, politicians fear the out migration of youth will only intensify over the years to come.

Consultant Mark Conway says Grey County needs to start finding homes for young people.

He says if the young people can’t find affordable housing they will not stay in the area, which means they will not have families, investment growth will be lost and the community will ultimately suffer.

Conway provided politicians with some strategies to promote affordable and attainable housing.

This includes:
- partnering with developers on empty buildings or vacant lots.
-providing developers with incentives such as waiving or deferring 
development fees,
-enhancing the current 2nd Mortgage program at the County
-County entering into partnership agreement with development community 
-amending some of the land use policies.

Conway says tiny homes, the creation of more dorm style apartments and the encouragement of granny flats and B&B style housing are other options.

Another suggestion coming out of the discussion was to encourage senior and youth partnerships, in which a young person lives with a senior at a reduced price and provides that senior with assistance around the home.

With the average house selling at 300 thousand dollars, homeownership can seem impossible for some.

As for transportation, some believe it should be uploaded to the County making it a regional priority.

This was meant by resistance from some who voiced great concern over the significant associated with such an undertaking and suggested that the County should not be in the business of transportation.

What most could agree on however is that affordable housing and transportation are the two most fundamental barriers for the vulnerable in society.

Warden Selwyn Hicks says the challenge will be 'how do we peace this thing out in a way that makes sense, and if these are priorities, are we prepared to put the money where our mouth is?

Staff have been charged with the task of sifting through all of the feedback and putting together a report for the County on how to best tackle affordable and attainable housing as well as transportation.

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