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Mayor suggests housing incentive

Peterborough Examiner - December 22, 2001
By Joseph Kim


The city should offer financial incentives to spur downtown landlords to convert upper floors into affordable Peterborough apartment units, Mayor Sylvia Sutherland said yesterday.

Speaking at a Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) breakfast meeting, Sutherland suggested low interest loans, development charge rebates and reduced planning and building fees could help lead to construction of more units.

"In this day and age, it isn't cheap," Sutherland said. "There has to be some help."

The city has looked at "residential intensification" before and has $25,000 in what's called a downtown conversion loan program.

City finance director Brian Horton said the Planning Act permits the city to give the core special designation, permitting the city to issue loans to help landlords looking to renovate.

Horton expects the city's planning department will make a bid for more cash for the program next year and that interest rates for any loans have not been established.

DBIA chairman Steve Winn said the incentives have merit, especially since some buildings have already undergone facade improvement. He said the DBIA also suggested increasing the affordable housing stock in the core in its October report to council.

"I think it's doable," Winn said of creating upper floor apartments. "And the incentives are a start."

But the DBIA's Michael Adamcryck asked Sutherland if more people downtown meant the city would spend more to provide security.

Sutherland said she believes more residents with "an investment" in the core will create a safer place because people will not only live there but keep an eye on the neighbourhood.

"The decisions we make around these social policy issues will define us as a community," she said.

Peterborough cannot be just another community, it has to be a "just community," Sutherland said, repeating a phrase she has used often this term of council.


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