Considerations affecting housing discussed by Council


At the regularly scheduled North Grenville Council meeting on April 13, a lengthy discussion about housing took place, bringing to light some of the considerations and challenges that are relevant to addressing the current housing crisis occurring both locally and nationally. Cristal Laanstra, the Municipality’s Deputy Director of Planning and Development, answered questions from Council regarding affordable housing, including whether having 25% of newly developed land used as affordable housing is being seen as a guideline, or a firm rule in practice.

Regarding this issue, Deputy Director Laanstra informed Council that the 25% figure is more of a general guideline, because it can be very difficult to achieve higher density, smaller affordable housing units, particularly in rural areas. Director of Planning and Development, Amy Martin, was able to provide more insight, clarifying that every developer which brings forward a plan to the Municipality must provide details on how they will address the affordable housing requirement to create more affordable units. The policy is flexible, so as to allow projects to proceed when they have the potential to provide significant community benefit in ways other than the addition of affordable housing units.

Director Martin also provided Council with the good news that engineering studies in the Municipality’s rural residential subdivisions have suggested that up to two additional units (in addition to the principal dwelling) can be serviced by existing infrastructure without difficulty. This would exempt owners of these properties from having to undergo additional engineering studies in the future, should they decide that they want to add additional residential units, thereby creating an incentive to add more housing locally.

The Council meeting discussion on policies and other issues of consideration when it comes to housing developments in general went on for over an hour, bringing to light the complex nature of housing. Issues discussed included ways to preserve trees during the development process, the feasibility of adding a walkway between subdivisions to aid children in getting to school, and considerations about traffic disruptions during the construction of new developments.

Discussions also took place regarding whether the Municipality should assume ownership of floodplain lands in the area of a new development (with much debate). Further, a local couple from Hurd Street had some of their concerns addressed regarding the new development bordering their property – these concerns involved issues such as stormwater management, and water table concerns from the additional drawing of well water from seven proposed neighbouring properties.

North Grenville is not the only Municipality in the area with housing at the forefront of Council meeting discussions lately. To the east, in North Dundas, Council recently received proposals for two new developments, one of which would involve the building of the first high-density stacked townhouses in the Township. Such an emphasis on affordable housing is likely to be at the forefront of discussions during municipal Council meetings across the country, as local government officials seek ways to increase housing supply in order to drive inflated prices back down. On a national level, the federal government has taken initial steps to address the issue, such as banning the sale of homes to foreign buyers for the next two years to help ensure more housing supply for Canadians.


  1. The greatest barrier to building affordable housing is there is not a government or a developer committed to making it happen. As a society we seem to be satisfied with seeing the homeless people on the street or in tents for the winter, then getting the OPP to turf them out once March 21st arrives. Our strategy is to continue to blame the poor, the mentally ill, and the disabled for being poor, while offering no solutions.


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