The Town of The Blue Mountains (TBM) has decided to lease its property at 19 Napier Street for use as an attainable housing unit.
A three-bedroom home sits on the property, and the town originally intended to demolish it in preparation for future uses.
The property was purchased for $425,000 by the town in 2020, largely due to its strategic location between the L.E. Shore Memorial Library and the Beaver Valley Community School property.
The good condition of the home on the property, however, led staff to consider its viability as an attainable rental unit.
“We've met a couple times on-site with representatives of the Blue Mountains Attainable Housing Corporation to see about the usability of the property. Quite frankly, it is a good unit,” said TBM CAO Shawn Everitt.
“The house does have a considerable amount of useful life left in it,” Everitt said. “We believe it is a good candidate for the Attainable Housing Corporation to actually get its first rental unit.”
TBM council voted to lease the property to the Blue Mountains Attainable Housing Corporation (BMAHC) for a 66-month term beginning in December 2021, at a rate of $850 per month, and directed staff to execute a lease agreement.
Due to the home’s good condition, it should be ready for tenant occupancy in the near future.
“I believe that we could do a very, very quick turnaround on this,” Everitt said. “The house doesn't need much for it to be moved into.”
Council viewed the property as an excellent opportunity for attainable housing in TBM.
“This is a huge opportunity to give somebody, some family in the town a real neat Christmas present – and that is a home,” said TBM councillor and chair of the BMAHC board Rob Sampson.
The future tenants will be selected from a pool of applicants who demonstrated interest in renting three-bedroom units from BMAHC.
“We set up a process that is totally independent and fair – we are basically picking from those who have already expressed an interest in a three-bedroom unit,” Sampson said. “We've had that list open since we started talking about attainable housing in the town a year or so ago.”
Sampson said that eligible applicants “would simply go into a lottery” for selection.
Sampson also put out a call for the public to donate a fridge and stove for the home.
“The house is currently without appliances,” he said. “If there's anybody who wants to donate new appliances ... please contact [BMAHC] and we'll make arrangements,” he said.
Council was presented with numerous options for the land, including transferring its ownership to BMAHC, but opted to go with a 66-month lease to reserve it for potential use in the future.
“By the time you get to the planning and design stages of anything that we want to use, the [66 months] gives us ... enough flexibility and enough warning of notice,” Everitt said. “If we start seeing the need to look at that dwelling, it still gives [BMAHC] enough runway for us to have that discussion.”
Greg McGrath-Goudie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca