Rapid housing initiative must balance urgency with acceptance
LONDON, ONT. -- As the pace of work to end London’s housing crisis accelerates, neighbours of one construction project believe a misinformation campaign benefitted from insufficient public consultation.
“We received some anonymous letters fear-mongering,” explains neighbour Arthur Korbiel.
Korbiel believes more time to properly educate homeowners about the affordable housing development at 122 Baseline Rd. W. would have dispelled myths and rumours.
“More education would be a big help. People aren’t really aware of what these projects are about,” he adds.
On Dec. 15, 2020 the Community and Protective Services Committee at City Hall first discussed the location on Baseline Road.
The next morning, $7.5 million from the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative was announced for the $17.5-million project.
Three months later, trees are being removed from the site, and the development is poised to clear its final planning hurdle at the next city council meeting.
Modular construction will be completed by the end of the year.
“I’m always in favour of more public consultations, we have to have the confidence of community members before we build housing projects,” says Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development Ahmed Hussen.
Hussen oversees the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative. He spoke to CTV News about balancing speed with public consultation.
“We need the partnership of community members, to understand housing projects that meet the needs of the most vulnerable, are in society’s interest,” he adds.
Many more neighbourhoods in London must welcome new public housing if London Mayor Ed Holder is to achieve his goal to create 3,000 affordable housing units in the next five years.
Hussen says the federal government will play its role.
“That is the level of ambition needed at all levels of government if we have any chance of eradicating chronic homelessness in Canada.”
Planning approval at 122 Baseline Rd., and two other affordable low-rise apartment buildings that total 147 units, will be considered at the March 23 meeting of city council.