Big city problems in a small town. Mount Brydges grapples how to address the need for affordable housing
LONDON, ONT. -- The need for affordable housing is more often associated with large cities. not towns like Mount Brydges.
But the Chief Administrative Officer for Strathroy-Caradoc says the need is there, “If you Google-search ‘rental accommodations in Mount Brydges’ nothing will come up.”
Fred Tranquilli says that creates an imbalance in a community looking to maintain a healthy downtown.
“It makes it difficult for anyone trying to start out on their own, to support themselves if they’re earning minimum wage, working in a local shop.”
Mount Brydges is one of the many communities in our region that has seen an explosion in new house construction and dramatic housing price increases. Despite a population of about 2,000, Mount Brydges has a big-city problem, a lack of affordable housing.
A public meeting was held Wednesday evening to discuss a proposal designed to help address the issue but not everyone is onside.
“It’s just the location is wrong here.” Mount Brydges resident Paul Daigneault expresses a sentiment being shared by many people in the community.
The complex would be constructed on a parcel of property, which the community already owns, at the corner of Queen Street and Helen Street, about a block south of Adelaide Road, the town’s main east/west thoroughfare.
It would be adjacent to Lion’s Park and Parkview Manor. Parkview Manor is a 16 apartment non-profit building that the Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc also operates.
Daigneault says one of the biggest concerns is loss of green space next to the park. “Parents set up here on the green, where the building is proposed to be built, with chairs, blankets; watch their children on the splash pad, watch their children on the playground.”
There are also concerns about parking and whether there will be overflow onto nearby streets. Tranquilli says the municipality is prepared to listen to residents, but admits there is a narrow window of opportunity to access funding made available through the Federal Government’s Rapid Housing Initiative.
“The funding announcement was made in November. The applications had to be submitted by December 31st. Construction has to commence by March 31st.”
That’s another concern for residents, who wonder whether enough thought has gone into the location and scale of the project.