Brandon Houston for Collingwood Council


The solution to housing is a complex one and I don’t think there is a single solution that’s going to solve it. I think it’s going to take creative thinking, innovative ideas, community minded developers, and a municipality willing to move quickly to address it. I believe that a blending of several possible solutions is the best answer. Secondary suites on existing properties, tiny homes, cohousing and coliving developments, support for community land trusts, and the relaxing of some zoning bylaws are all areas I’d like to look at.

The simplest of these solutions to start with is secondary suites. The County already provides $25,000 forgivable loans for people to build secondary suites on their property to supply affordable housing. Where we encounter roadblocks are in areas like zoning which unfortunately leads to a lot of red tape and restricts it being an easy process for the property owner. Those are areas we as a Town can make changes to zoning to remove barriers. A second option is cohousing and coliving developments, which provide more affordable housing solutions because of shared resources and smaller footprints.

The reality is we’re not the only Town experiencing this issue. There are other examples around the worlds of communities addressing this issue, so we only need to look to them for what’s working and what isn’t, and adapt those models to suit our community.

In Collingwood we have an enormous wealth of artists contributing to our arts and culture scene. We’ve gone to some distances showcasing that, but I believe we can do much more. The amount of talent we have in our region on a per capita basis is surprisingly high. We should be doing more to highlight and promote that. I think investing in it through something like the building of an arts and culture centre just makes sense. 
Art and culture are the soul of any community. Regardless of if you think you are interested in, take part in, or are familiar with art and culture, you are surrounded by it every day. It makes up the world around us and it provides an economic and social impact that isn’t always understood or appreciated. But, it’s the thread of what ties a community together.