Question period summary
Citizens address council on housing crisis, small businesses closing, and mitigation measures considering the assessment role
The first citizen to address the council this year discussed the housing crisis and the obstacles that some by-laws present to creating more affordable housing projects. Daniel Champagne, Versant councillor and president of the Housing Shock Committee addressed the comment saying they are adopting omnibus regulations that will allow them to make social, community, affordable housing quicker.
“I could tell you that the committee has met X number of times, that we have provincial and federal representatives. I could say that the housing situation is urgent and important, but I am sick of saying these things. I want to be able to say here is how many housing units we have built, and here is what we have done,” said Champagne. “There has been concrete action, but we need more action and quicker.”
The Versant councillor also says there are plans to build 400 social and affordable housing units this year.
Another citizen, who had previously addressed the council on the same issue, talked about her accessible housing and the lack of services and quality of life. She experiences reduced mobility and highlights how the talk of snow removal affects her ability to use sidewalks in her wheelchair and the need for accessible services.
Another topic brought to the council was the closure of small businesses around the city. “We are hearing of many closures in the city centres but also in all areas of the city,” said Emond Leclerc, Buckingham councillor and president of the economic development commission, who also highlighted that the council adopted the nomination of new members to the commission. These members are business owners from small, medium, and large businesses. “This is a vast topic, but the commission is working in this area.”
The assessment roll was discussed during the question period. A resident asked the council why they chose to calculate the assessment roll from July 2022, which reflected a significant increase in real estate value. The mayor explained that they are mandated by the province to do the assessment. It was also noted that the mayor has proposed mitigation measures to help close the gap between low value homes facing increases and high value homes getting tax decreases.
Photo caption: Screenshot of resident addressing the municipal council during the January 23rd meeting. The residents spoke of their increased taxes due to the assessment roll.
Photo credit: Screenshot by Sophie Demers.