Last week you may have seen in the media that the 640 Lansdowne Ave site has been designated by the City of Toronto to be developed for affordable housing. You might be familiar with this from some of my previous updates included in my e-newsletters and my latest paper newsletter.
This site is one of fifteen pieces of surplus City owned land, worth just over $100 million dollars that has been identified for affordable housing development through the Open Door Program. This program is designed to ensure that our City builds more affordable housing faster and it utilizes City land and incentives to help accomplish this.
Each Open Door site is different and involves putting out a Request for Proposals (RFP) to private and not-for-profit sector developers and partners. The RFP could include criteria such as maximum rental/ownership costs per unit, the amount of units, the incorporation of not-for-profit community spaces, and other criteria which will vary depending on the site. Two successful RFPs on other sites have already been issued under this program.
Open Door sites are targeted towards members of our society including seniors, youth, working families, and many others. Rents through this program range on average from $934 to $1,166 for households with an average annual income of $37,000 to $47,000.
Our city is growing at a fast pace and our area is gentrifying, bringing with it challenges and opportunities. The rising costs of home ownership and rental accommodations are definitely one of those challenges. Rental vacancy rates are at an all-time low and prices are at an all-time high. We must do everything within our power to address the very basic need of affordable housing in our city.
What I hear more and more in our community is that people's parents can't afford to rent an apartment in the area or that their children can't afford to buy or rent anything. I've heard from seniors who want to live and stay in the community that they love and have lived in for so long. This program is about building housing for our seniors, ourselves and our children. This is about building an inclusive community where a family with an annual household income of $40,000 can continue to work, life and play our city.
Given the previous history and contamination of the site, any type of development would need to go through a rigorous environmental process regulated and overseen by the Province to ensure the health and safety of residents in the community and for the future occupants. In the case of this property, the 1/3 of the site closest to Lansdowne Ave is zoned mixed-use and any future development will involve community input. The remaining 2/3rds of the site is zoned as employment lands, which would provide a buffer with the train tracks and Nitta Gelatin facility to the located directly west. I would expect green space to be included in any future plans.
This community has come a long way in just 10 years. New families are moving in to the neighbourhood, our streets are much safer than before, new jobs are being created, and new rapid transit is being built right here in our community for the first time in decades. These are exciting times and we will need to learn and grow to capture what is taking place all around us and make our community even stronger.
I look forward to hosting a community meeting in November so that we can talk about some of these possibilities and to help feed the community's ideas into shaping a RFP. Once the meeting details have been confirmed, I will be sharing it with the community. In the meantime and as always, I look forward to continuing to keep you updated on this and other City of Toronto matters.
If you have any questions please free to contact my office at 416-392-7012 or via e-mail at councillor_bailão@toronto.ca.