TBM housing corp. pursues provincial funding for Gateway build

The Blue Mountains Attainable Housing Corporation (BMAHC) is hopeful of acquiring funding from the provincial government for the Gateway attainable housing project.

BMAHC executive director Jennifer Bisley attended council’s meeting on Oct. 31 to update council on the corporation’s activities and to take care of some housekeeping administrative issues.

Bisley said BMAHC board chair and Councillor Rob Sampson had recently met with the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing about funding for the Gateway project and had made some progress. She requested that Mayor Alar Soever write a letter of support for the project to be included in any funding application.

Sampson said his presentation had gone well.

“Our approach has been extremely well-received. The question was: what is the support from the town?” said Sampson. “Our ask is heading in the right direction. It would be helpful for the town and council to write a letter of support for the project.”

Sampson said the fact that a significant portion of the housing in the Gateway project would be considered housing for citizens in the workforce was a big mark in its favour with the province.

“Our initial project might be the only workforce housing project the province can point to,” said Sampson. “It could bring us to the top of the list.”

Members of council were enthusiastic about the possibility of provincial funding and unanimously approved a resolution that authorized the mayor to prepare a letter of support that will include details about the contributions the town has made to the Gateway project.

At the meeting, Bisley also requested that council adopt the BMAHC 2019 Conceptual Business Model as its business case study for attainable housing. BMAHC is currently undertaking amendments to its letters patent to take care of some minor administrative items. Provincial regulations require the adoption by the town of a business case study for the corporation to amend its letters patent.

One amendment would be to recognize that BMAHC is now considering rental units as part of its efforts to address affordable/attainable housing issues in the community. The original letters patent mentioned only ownership of housing units.

The second change is to amend the quorum required for a BMAHC board of directors meeting. Currently, quorum is attained when five members attend, but one of the five members must be one of the council representatives on the board. BMAHC is seeking to have the quorum requirement be any five members of the board.

“The 2019 Conceptual Business Model, approved by the BMAHC Board on Aug. 1, 2019, replaced the April 11, 2012 Housing Committee’s Strategic and Business Plan to serve as the foundation for the current strategy, activities, and structure. Although due for an update, it is the basis for the amendments setting out the new mandate and providing a framework for the organizational structure and corporate policies,” said Bisley.

Coun. Andrea Matrosovs praised BMAHC’s approach in recommending the adoption of the Conceptual Business Model.

“It’s a good strategy for us. It’s welcome news that you’re looking at an update,” said Matrosovs, who inquired about the time frame for the update.

Bisley said with the town planning its own attainable/affordable housing strategy, BMAHC hopes to coordinate its update with the town’s timeline.

“Hopefully we can line those up together,” she said.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca