There are signs that many people in our community want 2020 to be the year of housing. After a long, unsustainable hiatus on the development of supportive, social and affordable housing, all parties are eager to attack a problem that’s only ever getting worse. Sounds good, but do you remember what happened the last time everyone was eager for action on homelessness?
This week on the podcast, we’re going to recap one of the most contentious debates of last year. Back in October, city council heard information on underutilized real estate assets owned by the City of Guelph, and one of those assets is a parcel of land at 106 Beaumont Crescent. The City doesn’t know yet what to do about it, but a couple of councillors proposed using the land for modular homes that could serve as supportive housing, and fill a desperate need in our community.
That well meaning motion became a lightning rod issue that sent people to their respective corners. Those in favour thought the negative reaction was overblown and NIMBY by its nature, while further stigmatizing the homeless and people suffering from addiction issues. In the other corner, you had people feeling like the City was moving fast on a proposal that would change the character of their neighbourhood, and without much local input, while questioning whether Beaumont Crescent itself was a good, accessible location.
So why revisit the debate? Consider it a test case. The City’s being pushed more and more to take action on social and affordable housing, as well as supportive housing for people with issues beyond homelessness. How will the city react to new proposals? Will people stand in the way of progress? Can the City move at the speed some people want, while at the same time doing all the due diligence others are demanding?
In this podcast, we’ll hear three of the important voices from the 106 Beaumont debate, collected here from separate interviews done on recent episodes of Open Sources Guelph. First, we’ll hear from Ward 2 Counclllor Rodrigio Goller, who was the originator of the motion. Then, we’ll hear from Ward 1 Councillor Dan Gibson, who was the sole ‘no’ vote on the original motion. And finally, we’ll hear from Kate Nixon, Lilly Bent, and Siegfried of Your Downtown Guelph Friends, who have worked closely with people in need, and took the vocal, public opposition to the motion rather personally.
So let’s recap the 106 Beaumont Sage on this week’s edition of the Guelph Politicast!
Stay tuned to Guelph Politico for more about the housing debate here in Guelph, and the push to get more social and supportive housing, because there’s going to be a lot of news on this subject in the year to come.
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