Affordable Housing CIP Public Meeting

Towns are not legally permitted to financially support private (that is, for profit) companies unless they are meeting a  community need AND it’s covered by a “Community Improvement Plan” (CIP).  So far in Cobourg, we have two CIPs: the Tannery District CIP and the Downtown Vitalization CIP.  On December 5, a third CIP project was launched with an open house.  Held in the Citizen’s Forum at Victoria Hall, more than 30 people came to learn about the new Plan for Affordable and Rental Housing and provide feedback to the consultants hired to develop the plan.  The intent is to define ways to assist the recently released Northumberland County Affordable Housing Strategy (AHS) as well as promoting sustainable, accessible economic development.  The launch meeting explained what a CIP is, its benefits and where affordable housing fits in the spectrum of housing needs.

Note that charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Trinity Housing Corporation may legally be supported by the Town without a CIP because they are not “Private” corporations.

Glenn McGlashon
Glenn McGlashon

At the meeting, Director of Planning Glenn McGlashon talked about what is being done by the Town and County and then the consultant (MHBC) went through the material provided (available from Engage Cobourg).

What is a Community Improvement Plan (CIP)?

  • First, the area must be specified in the Town’s Official Plan – and it is.  The entire Town (as in this case) can be the subject of a CIP or it can be just a part of the Town like previous CIPs.
  • It targets a community need such as brownfield development (e.g. the Tannery District) or rehabilitation of a specific area (e.g. Downtown) or in this case Affordable Housing.
  • It provides incentives such as waiving of fees, grants or loans.

But a CIP is NOT:

  • A land use plan (that’s done by the official Plan)
  • A plan to define heights and/or densities
  • A housing subsidy, housing support or rental or income support program (these are managed by the County)
  • A construction plan
  • A service for physical improvements or contractors (e.g. it does not provide a list of possible contractors)

As mentioned during the presentation by the County on their new Affordable Housing Strategy, a CIP to define assistance to developers helps get affordable housing built in Cobourg.

What is Affordable Housing?

Simply put, if you spend more than 30% of your gross income on housing, it’s not affordable.  There is more on this subject at the earlier post. All levels of Government are involved with helping to alleviate this concern.  It’s complicated but in essence, all levels of Government provide financial assistance in various ways – some direct to households and some to developers to incentivize them to build housing that includes at least some units that are affordable.

Affordable Housing is part of a continuum illustrated by the graphic below.

Housing Continuum

Green dots were used to get people to indicate on a chart what type of incentives they would prefer:

  • Application fee reductions
  • Tax Incentives
  • Development Charges Waiver
  • Financing (Grants/Loans) for conversions, retrofits/upgrades
  • Streamlined/Fast Tracked Approvals
  • Other – write your suggestion on a post it note

Also, postcards were provided where people could write their comments, questions or feedback.

The Schedule is:

  • Open House #2 – January 23, 2020,  6-8 pm
  • Open House #3 – April 14, 2020,  2- 4 pm
  • Public Meeting – April 14, 2020, 5 pm
  • Regular Council meeting – May 11, 2020, 6 pm Final report and Council decision.

This project is on the Town’s web site complete with all material at Engage Cobourg

Here are some photos of the event.

Print Article: 


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Lois Lane
4 years ago

I see the Feds have now issued financial support to people living in subsidized housing. I wonder when they will take a step to assist people that do not qualify for such housing but nevertheless are struggling with the current rents being asked. From $965. in 2013 to $1500. today. Well the lower end in now raised to working people and retired. People currently in subsidized will simply have their rents raised.

michal Hasek
4 years ago

Good presentation. Nice to see it in print.

4 years ago

PERSONALLY I think Costs in general have gotten out of hand and the Govt has not kept control of the Cost s & regulations put upon Owners / Developers of Multi residential buildings in general . Not to mention the the Land lord Tenant Act has made it very hard for Builder / Owners to collect rents or returns on their investments into any community in the form of Housing .
In other words if there is no return for risk and effort –then why build it this goes for
Tax funded and Non Profit operations as well
The thought of all these socialite community do gooders out there is great
a lot of them never get down in the trenches and get their hands dirty and actually put in time on the streets so to say and many never discover the real issues . If they did they might see things need to be handled differently —— But they do attend
social events , fundraisers and council meetings asking for hand outs & funding which in many cases is ill spent
So the idea that a certain sector of humanity having extensive wrights with out responsibility or liability seems absurd to me
If you are homeless and provided with a shelter or subsidized living accommodations and food there has to be enforceable rules in place for cleanliness and the peaceful enjoyment of others with in the common living facility and our community what ever it may be .
No drugs , drinking , filth and garbage , or loud and aggressive actions towards others
Other responsible people Live here too , not because they choose to because they need to and respect for the Neighbourhood in which they hang out or are housed should come with out question .

Lois Lane
Reply to  perplexed
4 years ago

Well Perplexed another factor for not building rental housing is the long continuing low interest rate for mortgages. It is easier to run a condominium project than rental housing as far as all the rules you state that are supposed to be in place. Build it, sell it, walk away as opposed to a private investor then managing a rental complex.

I discovered rules everywhere are seldom enforced. If you get one tenant who owns a dog and refuses to do what good pet owners do – pick up after it, figure out what to do if it is barking and annoying other tenants the rule comes down – no pets allowed instead of dealing with the one bad pet owner. Reminds me of the old story about the parent informed his kid is acting up in school – “Johnny is very sensitive – when he acts up slap the kid beside him, it will scare him into behaving” – instead of dealing with the offender.

Reply to  Lois Lane
4 years ago

Banks prefer to finance Condo out here east of Tor. at least in small town Ont as they are also in and out of the finance situation faster
BUTTTTTT if the truth be known the towns like Condos more as well
if you look at the MPAC situation here and built
50 Apts 2 bed room 800 sq ft lets say the present assessment is approx
$115 k per unit or $5,750,000.– tax base —- Now if you built the identical Building on exactly the same property out of the same material s and called it a Condo
The average MPAC assessment would be around $350 to $400 K
its 3 times the Tax base $17,500,000.– with out depreciation as in some apartments where are you making your money.
Hey a Brick is a Brick cost the same no matter how you label it
but the Taxes thats another story
there is more than 1 reason for fewer apartments

4 years ago

John, Open House #2 Jan 23 is to be held at Victoria Hall?

John Draper
Reply to  Gerinator
4 years ago

Not yet announced.

Reply to  John Draper
4 years ago