Perth's New Town Planner Presents to Council on Affordable Housing

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We were excited to see Perth's new Town Planner, Brad Wright, taking a pro-active approach to affordable housing by submitting a report and presenting to council on this topic on June 9th. The Perth Courier covered the presentation  which included a variety of immediate and longer term actions the Town can take to increase the availability of affordable housing in our community. The presentation noted that even before the current economic challenges of the pandemic, 48% of renters and 16% of homeowners in Lanark County were spending more than 30% of their income on rent or mortgages. Mr. Wright was kind enough to make the time to give this presentation to LCCAN on July 2, and a lively discussion ensued.

Perth has a low occupancy density with an average of 1.9 people living in a home and a high number of seniors This creates a variety of opportunities for creative solutions for increasing residential density including sub-diving houses, co-housing, or matching seniors with boarders who would take an interest in supporting them to stay at home. Mr. Wright explained that there is a lot of potential to add "carriage houses" and "granny suites" to existing residential lots, an approach that is supported by new provincial legislation. As noted in the Lanark County Housing Report Card (see above) single bedroom units are those most in demand by people seeking to access community housing which are they types of units that could be created with these approaches. Another possibility is promoting more mixed residential and commercial use - possibly converting some retail to residential if the boom in online shopping leads to fewer retail outlets in town. 

Mr. Wright noted a variety of zoning, educational, policy and revenue approaches that the Town can take to increase the availability of affordable housing in our community. The Courier quotes him as reminding council that there is no one "silver bullet" for affordable housing. Town Council will have to decide which of these approaches it wants to pursue in the months and years ahead. 

The full presentation is available here.

Please contact your mayor and council and let them know you support them taking a more proactive approach to increasing affordable housing in Perth, or whatever municipality you live in. 

Click on the names below to email members of Perth's Town Council. 
Mayor John Fenik
Deputy Mayor Ed McPherson
Councillor Dave Bird 
Councillor Judy Brown
Councillor Leona Cameron
Councillor Brock McPherson
Councillor Barry Smith