At the North Dundas Council meeting on April 5, the housing crisis, which has been plaguing all of Canada, took centre stage, as discussions of new housing developments in the Township took place. One significant milestone for the Township is a plan for stacked townhouses to be built in the Winchester Meadows subdivision, nestled in the northeast corner of the village of Winchester. These stacked townhouses would be the first of their kind in North Dundas.
Council heard that the developer is tentatively planning to rent the townhouse units at first, and convert to a condominium model (in which units and parking spaces are purchased) later on, at which point yet another milestone would be reached, as these would be the first condominiums in the Township. After hearing a report on the proposed development, Council briefly discussed administrative matters, such as whether the proposed townhouses will comply with Township zoning requirements which restrict the allowed height of buildings. Ultimately, no concerns were raised about the proposed development, and Council passed the motion for the Site Plan Control Bylaw for the site.
The new Winchester development is not the only one in the Township to be discussed at the meeting. A Site Plan Control Bylaw was also put forward for another proposed high density development at the end of Industrial Drive in Chesterville. It was noted at the meeting that the Township has been getting an increase in approval requests for higher density developments lately, likely in response to the immediate and continuing need for affordable housing, both locally and nationally. Mayor Tony Fraser described the proposed development as “excellent news” during the meeting, before the Site Plan Control Bylaw was passed by Council.
North Dundas is not the only municipality to be seeing a push toward high density housing recently. To the west, in North Grenville, Councillors in the Municipality held a discussion last week regarding new developments and the barriers to building higher density housing, particularly in rural areas that are not serviced by utilities, such as municipal water and sewer services. Such an emphasis on affordable housing is likely to be at the forefront of discussions during municipal Council meetings across the country, as local government officials seek ways to increase housing supply in order to drive inflated prices back down. On a national level, the federal government has taken initial steps to address the issue, such as banning the sale of homes to foreign buyers for the next two years to help ensure more housing supply for Canadians. Meanwhile, local real estate continues to sell for exorbitant prices.