Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • August-September 2022 • Circulation 5000

What’s Next for Housing Initiative?

Doubts about next steps undermine City’s housing meeting.

McCauley residents look at some of the displays at the “Realizing Housing Potential” meeting on September 22. City of Edmonton

Uncertainty about next steps appeared to undermine the positive momentum generated at the City of Edmonton’s housing meeting held in McCauley on September 22.

According to McCauley resident Joanne McNeal, “It was good they were gathering perspectives from residents, but I didn’t get a clear sense of direction for the next steps.”

About 40 McCauley residents attended the meeting connected to the City’s “Realizing Housing Potential” initiative in the five central area neighbourhoods: Alberta Avenue, Central McDougall, Eastwood, Queen Mary Park, and McCauley. Similar meetings were held in these other communities.

This initiative is linked to the three-year moratorium on non-market housing projects in the five neighbourhoods, which ends in October 2015. However, this project focuses more broadly on all types of housing and related issues.

Feedback from the McCauley meeting suggests people “seemed pretty happy to have input about housing in their neighbourhood and also the social aspect of interacting with their neighbours,” said Jessie Singer, planner in the City’s Housing Branch.

However, based on this meeting, McCauley resident Nick Hermansen is doubtful about the process. “It felt like a busy work thing to make the residents feel involved.”

In a follow up interview, Singer explained that in November the City will release a “what we heard” summary of the meetings, which people can comment on. A report with specific policies and programs will follow in the winter of 2015, which people can also comment on. This report will provide a housing “road map” for each community that will include some common and some distinctive features.

“We’re aware of the unique character of each community. So, we don’t want to paint them all with the same brush, but we also don’t want to put them into silos,” explained Singer.

Some common themes have emerged from the neighbourhood meetings. People like the City’s grant programs Curb Appeal and HOPE which support affordable housing and the preservation of character homes. The City is considering changes to these programs in response to feedback.

A final report will be prepared in the summer of 2015 and City Council is expected to review the report in the fall of 2015.

Singer noted that some people want to be involved right up until the final documents are produced and other people want to have opportunities for longer discussions. While the City hasn’t finalized all the ways people can get involved, “we want to make it easy for people to be engaged.”

People can get involved by going to www.edmonton.ca/realizinghousing. The City has posted the information and the discussion questions from the McCauley meeting on that website.

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