Fredericton city councillor Kate Rogers spoke out against a new housing project on King Street at Monday's city council meeting after council voted to approve changes made by the developer.
The chair of the affordable housing committee said the changes made by the developer, El-Khoury Property Management, ignores the needs of a wide variety of people who want or need to live close to downtown shops and services.
"They aren't all people who want two bedroom apartments. So, I think it kind of flies in the face of what we know that we need in our downtown and I think it's unfortunate that the developer has chosen to go that route."
The five-storey building at 347 King Street will now have 18 two-bedroom units instead of mainly smaller ones. The building was originally supposed to have nine one bedroom, six two bedroom and three studio apartments.
Council approved the motion to allow the changes but not without Rogers expressing her concerns about it.
Rogers said while it was never the developer's intention to have affordable housing units in the building or cater to low-income tenants, having smaller apartments by design would have been more affordable.
"We know that affordability is a real concern actually throughout the city when you have a vacancy rate just above one per cent."
Rogers said getting rid of the option for the one bedroom and studio apartments eliminated the opportunity for single people who wanted to live close to downtown services or those who don't have a vehicle.
The housing chair said she thinks it's unfortunate that the developers chose to go this route especially after the housing committee raised concerns about it when the project was brought to the committee.
"I raised a concern when this project was first brought to us that it didn't have affordable housing units in it and of course, and I was told at the time that that's not a requirement for the city centre plan in this area. So I thought it was a missed opportunity then."
But Rogers said seeing that the building was going to be a mix of different sized units she thought at least there was some affordability by design but finds the change to all two bedroom units disappointing.
"We could have voted against this. We could have voted against the terms and conditions, but it didn't seem to raise enough concern amongst council."
Rogers said the affordable housing committee knows the need for affordable housing has reached a real critical point in the city.
"We're now realizing that with a very low vacancy rate, affordability is becoming a very significant concern, not just for the precariously housed, but for people on fixed incomes, for working folk who aren't making enough money to to pay the cost of rents in the city."
Rogers said city councillors have become more informed on what needs to be done to generate more affordable types of housing units.