A common misunderstanding is that a housing policy that emphasizes sustainability and addresses climate concerns cannot be affordable for residents and fiscally responsible for municipalities. This belief finds its origin in old ideas that eco-friendly housing involves roofs with large, expensive solar panels, and large backyards with chickens and cumbersome windmills. Fortunately, it is now much simpler than that.
Wellington – Halton Hills Green Party Candidate, Ryan Kahro, has a vision where meeting the ever-increasing demand for affordable housing works with already existing developments and focuses on densification in a way that benefits the municipalities, the homeowners, and those in need of housing.
One example of this is to update the antiquated zoning bylaws to create more available alternatives to single-family detached dwellings, such as tiny homes, secondary suites, and laneway housing. The development of these accessory dwelling units not only creates additional affordable living spaces, but it also provides upward economic mobility for the owners of the homes. They now have a way of generating additional income. One that is not tied to trading hours for dollars. It allows homeowners to capitalize on an asset they already own. If they’re willing to trade that space for more economic empowerment, it helps somebody have an affordable house and it gives the homeowner additional household income.
This densification is achieved without additional strain on the municipal budgets, which are already under significant strain due to the pandemic. There is no requirement for additional infrastructure to accommodate the new housing. We are working with, and maximizing, existing sewers, powerline, roadways and transportation systems.
This plan further helps the municipalities from a revenue generation perspective as well. Not only is there increased revenue from the need for permits and inspections, but the increased property value created by the accessory dwelling units will lead to higher property taxes.
Everyone wins with creative housing policies. The homeowner gains additional household income in the form of rent collected. At the same time, an affordable rental is created for somebody who needs it. The municipality benefits from increased property taxes and more local spending, without investing in new infrastructure.
If we only look to find solutions to the housing crisis by increasing development, building new buildings, then we are going to keep spreading out and spending more. We need to look at ways to fully utilise what we have already.
The Green Party Housing Policy is environmentally responsible, socially responsible, and financially responsible.