Proposals to address the lack of affordable housing in Waterloo

I have been drawing attention to the lack of affordable housing in the city of Waterloo, and how the updating of the zoning bylaw now underway could do much to bring more lower-end-of-market rental units onstream.

I have three main proposals:

  1. Reduce the amount of parking required when a condo or apartment building is built. And don’t always require a parking space for accessory apts created in a home. Parking makes construction much more expensive. And in a home, the lack of room for a side-by-side parking spot now means an apartment cannot be allowed – this needs to change.
  2. Remove many other obstacles that now exist to creating apartments in houses and detached garages.
  3. Bring in Inclusionary Zoning in all new developments. This means that every building, subdivision, etc, would have to include a given percentage of affordable units. This leads to a mix of income levels in the same neighbourhood, as opposed to ghettoization.

These three measures could open up the rental housing market substantially.

Here are links to some my recent articles on affordable housing in Waterloo.

Letter to Waterloo Chronicle: City officials have to hear about it on new zoning | Waterloo Chronicle (22 July 2016)

Mention in Waterloo Chronicle (interview with editor Bob Vrbanac): Concerns over new zoning bylaw | Waterloo Chronicle (14 July 2016)

Waterloo Chronicle: Editorial: Take the time to listen (13 July 2016)

Submission to the city’s public input portal on zoning review: Letter to the City of Waterloo on Zoning and Affordable Housing | KWPeace (16 July 2016)

If you think these are good ideas, please write to the papers and your city councillor. There will also be a second round of public input in fall 2016.

Author: Eleanor Grant

Eleanor Grant writes an occasional e-mail newsletter on social justice issues.