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  • The Low Down

No affordable rental housing created in Chelsea

The Editor,

Dear mayor, councillors, town staff and other concerned parties,

I have read with interest the report on the first phase of consultations in regard to the master plan and the priorities and the public’s interest in affordable housing options within our community.

This has been a subject that has been discussed for the last 17 years that I have been in this town. However the reality is that, despite Chelsea creating a $24 million water and sewer plant and the previous approvals of three very large subdivision plans on the Hendrick Farm, Chelsea Creek and Meredith lands, no affordable rental housing of any kind has been created.

With the price of houses in Chelsea currently, rental housing will be the only affordable option available to many people now and in the future.

The issue here quite obviously is this council’s reluctance to tackle the higher density zoning. Higher density is the only method a municipality will be able to attain affordable, smaller, rental apartment units. This allows a developer to create more economical units on a smaller footprint of land. The cost in development today is mostly composed of land cost and extremely high labour and materials construction cost. When these items are divided by more units, the cost per unit is reduced.

The issue of height of a building is obviously a major deterrent in creating more units. However it also is a huge benefit in providing more construction funding to create a more attractive building.