The third verb: promoting affordable housing

The third verb: promoting affordable housing

Endless meetings, phoney consultations with “the community”, interpreting the meaning of “tall” or “compatible” – that is the life of an affordable housing promoter! CCOC has a Mission (did you know?) to create, maintain and promote housing for low and modest income folks. The first two verbs are self evident, but what does the third one mean and why does CCOC have it as a mission?

Well, right now in Ottawa, it means being involved in discussions around how our City, and particularly our downtown neighbourhoods will evolve. Newpapers, television, social media are all covering the “tall buildings” issue these days. CCOC has been involved in the Mid-Centretown Community Development Plan (CDP) and is now paying close attention to the Carling/Bayview CDP and the review (the planners call it a “refresh”) of the City’s Official Plan.

In order to create housing, CCOC needs to be able to purchase land at a price that allows us to build affordably. This is almost impossible now and is only getting harder as developers are allowed to build higher and higher, inflating the land value each time. Developers will talk a lot about how “short, fat buildings” of 12 storeys or less are horrible and how we need soaring 40 storey towers to reach the “intensification targets” set by the City. Don’t be fooled, this is greed disguised as careful planning. Nothing wrong with a 4 or 8 storey building if you make it attractive.

The private sector can do it too, and there are many examples of perfectly nice four to six storey buildings, many of them built in the last decade like the Glasgow by Charlesfort at Bronson and Powell

We need to grow, but we can do that without turning our neighbourhoods into wind canyons for single yuppies and their dogs.

Guest post by Catherine Boucher – an old CCOC’er