Posted On: Saturday, September 29, 2018
Mayoral candidate Alar Soever and Council Candidate Rob Sampson have today released their ideas for a plan begin to deal with the attainable housing deficit in The Town of The Blue Mountains.
“The South Georgian Bay Tourism Labour Supply Task Force has, yet again, told us that affordable housing for Blue Mountains workers is desperately needed. Recently we have seen how this plays out in the real world with a local business restricting business hours due to labour shortages. It is time to stop talking about this and to get on with doing something! That is why Rob and I have formulated the Attainable Blue action plan” said Mayoral Candidate Alar Soever. If elected we look forward to
working with Council and revitalizing the TBM Attainable Housing Corporation to act on these ideas to make this plan a reality.”
“Elections are the time to discuss new ideas and action plans to deal with important issues like affordable housing for Blue Mountains workers, young families and even seniors. I’m happy to work with Alar on this important initiative and to take what other communities have done and customize that for our community. Further community consultation is needed, but we now have a high level plan to begin to work on when the new Council is elected” said Rob Sampson, Candidate for Councilor.
Both Soever and Sampson support a plan that builds upon the successes in other resort-based communities like Whistler. The Attainable Blue action plan includes revitalizing the TBM Attainable Housing Corporation and the setting of measurable and achievable targets for new housing in three critical categories of need – rental, first home owners and seniors.
Sampson and Soever are calling on all stakeholders to participate actively in implementing the plan including the Blue Mountain Resort who will be asked to provide a guarantee of rental occupancy. The TBM Attainable Housing Corporation/TBM will be asked to provide land and zoning density approvals, and local builders will be asked to come forward with suitable design and build services.
ATTAINABLE BLUE HIGH LEVEL PLAN
1. TBM will approve revitalizing the TBM Attainable Housing Corporation with the mandate of implementing the action plan modelled on the success of Whistler and
2. With the guidance of Council, a new Strategic Plan for the TBM Attainable Housing Corporation will be created to focus on deliverables:
a. For rental units:
i. Target for a PPP RFP by summer 2019. This would be a Restricted Design, Build, Own and operate basis
ii. Units would be rental, with title restrictions re: rental occupancy and property sale. The developer would be the owner and rental operator but would have to report regularly on rental occupancy, rental rates, and would be able to sell the building but only to the Attainable Housing Corporation. Rents would be fixed, and
increases geared to inflation and a ceiling. The TBM Attainable Housing Corporation would obtain a rental occupancy guarantee from the Blue Mountain Resort and would assign that agreement to the developer on conditions.
iii. Hard targets would be set for new rental units shovel in ground by fall 2019.
b. For young family town houses:
i. Target for PPP RFP by summer 2019. This would be a Restricted Design, Build, Transfer basis.
ii. Units would be freehold, with a shared services condominium corporation “POTL”, and title restrictive covenants re sale – ie. only sale back to TBM Attainable Housing Corporation at a fixed return price.
iii. Hard targets would be set for new rental units shovel in ground by fall 2019.
c. For seniors living:
i. Target for PPP RFP by summer 2020.
ii. Hard targets would be set for new rental units shovel in ground by fall 2020.
iii. Units would be life hold basis, with a shared services condominium corporation basis “POTL”, and title restrictive covenants re sale – ie. only sale back to TBM Attainable Housing Corporation at a fixed return price.
3. TBM to provide the following:
a. Land grant to the TBM Attainable Housing Corporation. As part of the PPP, the land grant can be leased to the private sector under 50+ year lease for the
purposes of the build and co-management of the units.
b. Rezoning land noted above as special higher density attainable housing category.
c. Rezoning of lower development charges for special higher density attainable housing category.
d. Create a “one Window” application process for special higher density attainable housing category.
4. BM Resort to provide assignable rental occupancy guarantee for any of the special higher density attainable housing rental category – can be assigned to the PPP
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What is the labour study you are talking about and how do I get a copy of that report?A. The South Georgian Bay Tourism Industry Workforce Housing Research and Business Case Report examined tourism workforce housing issues in South Georgian Bay with a view to defining key issues and identifying ways that the private and public sectors can collaborate across the region on innovative approaches to improve the supply of attainable housing. The report can be found at our web sites: www.robsampson.ca and www.alarsoever.ca
Q Is it true that you are modelling this plan after the one in place in Whistler BC?A. Yes. We believe that we need to learn from other jurisdictions on what works and what doesn’t work. Whistler had an attainable housing crisis early on in its development and implemented an action plan that has delivered over 2,000 units to help meet the local affordable housing needs.
Q Is this plan going to create a huge bureaucracy costing a lot of money?
A. No. We will model our effort on what is being done in Whistler where 2,300 beds were built in 6 years, future housing stock is self-funded by the authority, and under 10% of total expenses is spent on administration.
Q Why are you announcing your action plan now?
A. Previous Councils have talked about the shortage of housing for Town of Blue Mountains workers, families and seniors but did nothing to address the shortage. Now
is time to stop the talking and act. Both Alar and Rob are hoping that their Attainable Blue action plan will kick start the action needed to get new affordable housing stock
in the ground. We believe that it is essential that the majority of TBM workers and their families live in the community. To achieve this objective, we need to partner with the community to provide and sustain a range of housing options both rental and home ownership for those who live and work in TBM. Creating an inventory of price-controlled units that are only available to resident employees will be the best means of reducing the impact of market forces, which for the last 20 years has driven the price of market housing out of reach for many local workers and their families.
Q What is the next step?
A. Once elected, Rob and Alar will make the implementation of the plan a top priority. Community involvement is critical and immediate community consultation will
begin and will occur all along the process. The TBM Attainable Housing Corporation board will be revitalized and we will look for local community experts to take on these positions. The Board will then work with the new Council to further define its strategic plan.
Q. What will the Town of The Blue Mountains have to contribute to the solution?
A. We are proposing that the Town of The Blue Mountains contribute surplus land to the solution. TBM will also have to deal with changes to zoning and the Official Plan to allow for a special new category of zoning called Attainable Resident Restricted Housing. We are also proposing that the TBM create a new lower development
charge levy for these types of properties. We will be expecting the County of Grey to do the same.
Q. What will the private sector be expected to do?
A. We are proposing to use a public private partnership for this initiative – much like what was done in Whistler for their attainable housing build. The private sector will be
expected to design and build and in the case of the rental units operate the new units. For the rental units, the Blue Mountains Resort will be expected to provide a rental
guarantee to the TBM which the TBM will assign to the private developer on conditions. The private developer must meet design criteria for the buildings.
Q. Will the new buildings fit with our Town’s look and feel?
A. Absolutely and that will be a main criterion of the design work to be done by the private sector. They must design buildings that fit with our unique look and feel yet still
provide for the affordability requirements.
Q. How will the Town Houses plan work?
A. The Town Houses will available to families and all applicants must be of legal age, Canadian citizens or landed immigrants, must be qualified employees working in the
TBM area, and must be pre-approved for a mortgage. Employees must work a minimum average of 20 hours per week within TBM. Applicants or their spouse must
not own, either personally, jointly or indirectly through a trust or business assets, any real estate anywhere. The Town Houses will be purchased from the TBMHA and can
be owned by the applicants. All homes must be sold back to the TBM in order to maintain a stock of more affordable housing in perpetuity for TBM resident employees. The object is to start it lower and keep it low. The TBMHA will calculate a maximum resale value for every resale restricted unit. Depending on the unit, the resale appreciation will be tied to an index.
Q. How will the Rental Units plan work?
A. Where needed, the TBMHA will provide land to the private sector for rental units on a long-term lease basis. The rental units will be built, owned and operated by the private developer. The Blue Mountain Resort will provide an occupancy guarantee to TBMHA who will then assign that guarantee to the private operator on certain conditions including that the rental units be occupied by needy residents of TBM. Rents will be closely monitored by the TBMHA and must be geared to inflation and needed capital reinvestment. Rental properties can only be sold back to the TBMHA. The Rental units will available to families and all applicants must be of legal age,
Canadian citizens or landed immigrants, and must be qualified employees working in the TBM area. Employees must work a minimum average of 20 hours per week within TBM. Applicants or their spouse must not own, either personally, jointly or indirectly through a trust or business assets, any real estate anywhere.
Q. How will you restructure the TBM Attainable Housing Authority?
A. The TBM Attainable Housing Authority (“TBMHA”) is an independent municipally owned corporation of The Town of The Blue Mountains. It will be refocused to
oversee the development, administration and management of resident restricted housing in TBM. It will have a Board of Directors consisting of seven members of the
community appointed by Council, as well as an Executive Director. The Board mandate will be to achieve the goal of providing attainable rental accommodation and home ownership options for at least 75 per cent of employees within the TBM, as well as to provide attainable housing solutions for our seniors.in both
Q. How much will this cost the Town?
A. The Town will be expected to contribute surplus land that will have a value but will be contributed on a long-term lease basis only. This is an investment by the Town in its community’s health and welfare and is critical at this time. If we follow the Whistler example, this initiative will be self-funding and can grow on its own.
Editors input: Website link shows how it was done in Calgary
Location: L. E. Shore Memorial Library (Blue Mts Library)
Location: Marsh Street Centre
Location: Grace United Church 140 Bruce St.S., Thornbury
Location: Marsh Street Centre 187 Marsh St. Clarksburg
Location: Marsh Street Centre , Clarksburg
Location: St. Georges Anglican Church Clarksburg