NEWSMAKERS: Lakeside Residences put affordable housing on map
Jan. 15, 2015
The opening of Lakeside Residences — a $19.2-million mixed-income facility in Keswick — last summer put affordable housing on the map in Georgina in a big way.
The joint project between Whitchurch-Stouffville’s Torkes Developments and Housing York Inc., the region’s non-profit municipal housing corporation, got the green light from the town after 16 major design changes, a peer review of the traffic impact and parking study and extensive consultation between the developer and town planners addressing issues raised at two prior public meetings.
The town offered up the property and deferred development charges of $349,588 since the project was considered a great opportunity to provide affordable housing options within the municipality while meeting official growth plans outlined in the Keswick Secondary Plan.
It was also touted by town council as a constructive way to develop the long-vacant corner lot in the uptown business district of Keswick that failed to garner private investment dollars for roughly three decades.
Some 60 per cent of Lakeside residents have come off the region’s central housing list — last pegged at roughly 9,000 singles, seniors and families, of which about 1,500 were waiting for subsidized residences in Georgina.
Affordable housing has been identified as a major issue facing the region moving forward.
Rent for the subsidized units is geared to a 30-per-cent slice of a person’s or family’s income.
The remainder, or 40 per cent, of Lakeside’s apartments are rented at what is defined as modest market rates — $622 for a bachelor, $925 for a one-bedroom and $1,014 for a two-bedroom.
Those monthly fees represent 80 per cent of full market rents, as defined by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
That’s right up the alley of many seniors, who represent a fair ratio in the new building.
Lakeside Residences also fits the bill in terms of accessibility, especially in light of new provincial standards being phased in during the next couple of years.
Twelve of the 97 apartments are fully accessible, with a larger than average number of wheelchair accessible units than the region’s other 33 housing projects in York.
Funding agreements with the provincial and federal governments made the building a reality, including a $12,489,748 contribution from the investment in affordable housing program — a joint initiative between the federal and provincial governments for the creation and repair of affordable housing — and funds acquired through the Investing in Ontario Act, which awarded the region provincial dollars to fund regional infrastructure projects.