BROCKTON – An affordable housing development for Brockton continues to be a priority for Mayor Chris Peabody and his council.
He said in an interview that the plan is to sell some municipally owned land in Walkerton’s East Ridge Business Park to a developer who will agree to construct rental units – apartments, not townhouses. “The goal is to get more rentals,” said the mayor.
He noted there’s already been an offer. There’ll hopefully be others, to create a competitive process.
The issue, said Peabody, is “Bruce County doesn’t support the plan.”
The county’s planning department is going with the Watson Report on growth that indicates the county doesn’t have enough “employment land,” which constrains Brockton’s residential growth.
Peabody stressed that the East Ridge Business Park is huge, with ample land for employment purposes. There’s also a need for affordable housing in the area, which isn’t supported by the county.
Peabody said he’ll first get his council’s approval (which he already has, in principle) and seek a ministerial order from Steve Clark, minister of municipal affairs and housing.
“A municipal council can go to cabinet and ask for an override,” Peabody said. “It’s going to be interesting.”
The other county issue that could have an impact on Brockton is development charges. The county received information from the public and council on the proposed charges during last week’s public meeting, and in Peabody’s words, “will take some time to process the concerns.”
He noted that development charges are for new growth; however, if development charges are implemented, money would be collected for long-term care. At present the county has two long-term care homes, and as far as the mayor knows, there are no plans for a third. He suggested that “the consultants are creating policy on long-term care.”
Peabody drew attention to one item on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting of Bruce County council – the report on long-term care, which includes statistics on COVID-19 vaccination for staff.
At Brucelea Haven in Walkerton, 80 per cent have received their second dose of vaccine, with an additional 13 per cent having had their first dose.
To date, both Brucelea Haven and Gateway Haven are providing all unvaccinated staff (and visitors) with three rapid antigen tests per week. As of Nov. 15, the 10 unvaccinated members will be placed on unpaid leave for not complying with the policy. That involves two full-time staff members, two part-time staff members, two students, three temporary workers and one casual.
At Gateway Haven in Wiarton, there are three staff members affected – one full-time and two part-time.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times