Amid a long Council meeting on Monday largely focused on climate policy, the horseshoe voted in favour of emptying the entirety of its affordable housing reserve fund to support two projects that aim to tackle the high price for Guelph units.
The $1.29 million fund from the city will back two projects: An apartment building on Janefield Ave. with 165 affordable units and a seniors housing project by St. Joseph Housing Corporation that will consist of 65 affordable units.
Both projects are seeking money from a fund set up by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation which requires the developer to have a minimum of 30 per cent of the units less than 80 per cent of the median market rental rate and maintained for 20 years, according to the website.
The manager of policy planning and design, Melissa Aldunate, pointed out to Council that the average rent for one-bedroom unit’s last year was $1,133 and so to meet the 80 per cent threshold for affordable, the units could not be more expensive than $906.
If the CMHC approves the dual projects, Janefield would receive $924,000 and the Silver Maple Seniors Community Project would get $364,000.
Developers for both projects came forward to Council, making the case that their projects should be backed. The mayor at one point suggested that they could vote in favour of pulling the remaining city reserve funds to back the projects, but no motion was proposed.
City staff said that if the two projects go ahead and are funded, they would help Guelph reach rental unit targets set out last September. The targets aims for the city to have 25 per cent affordable ownership units, four per cent secondary units and one per cent primary rental units.
The first half of the recommendations adopted by Council passed 12-1, with Coun. Phil Allt voting against and the second half passed unanimously. The vote was proceeded by and succeeded by contentious votes on climate policy during a Council meeting that lasted into Tuesday morning.