Finding Better Solutions than an Interim Control Bylaw

There has been a lot of discussion and debate at City Council over the last month about whether or not to impose an interim control bylaw (ICBL) in the neighbourhoods around Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College. There are real concerns in these areas of the city about conversions of family homes into expanded student housing, and an ICBL has been proposed as a way to prevent any further conversions for the near future.

However, an ICBL wouldn’t just stop the conversion of family homes into student housing developments, it would also block just about any other type of development in the area. In fact, over the last week I have heard concerns from residents, tradespeople, church groups and affordable housing agencies, all of whom would be prevented from proceeding with developments to their properties under an ICBL, even though their developments are unrelated to student housing.

That’s the big problem with an ICBL; there is no ability to target the specific types of development that are of concern to the neighbourhood, while at the same time allowing all the other positive types of development to continue. This creates enormous collateral damage and is, frankly, unfair to other residents and property owners in these parts of the city. I am convinced that there is a better way forward on this. We can find more targeted solutions that will unify our community rather than create divisions and tensions in the way an ICBL proposal has. I am very pleased that as a result of last night’s debate, Council has  directed staff to explore other options, which will include looking at best practices from other cities with large post-secondary student populations.

I remain convinced that one of the best ways to protect family neighbourhoods in the downtown is to encourage and incentivize more apartment style housing in areas of the downtown that need redevelopment, such as the Williamsville corridor on Princess Street. At the end of the day, we will probably need a combination of different policies and partnerships, but we can get there. Our post-secondary students are an enormous asset to our community, and by working together we can ensure that families and students can co-exist and thrive together in our community.

2 Responses

  1. mac gervan says:

    Hi Mayor Patterson
    Thankyou for your comments…a lot of it makes sense to me….
    A couple of things…
    One, there is no emergency in portsmouth or williamsville, so they should not be part of this

    Second, I think a solution could be quite simple….
    Multi family dwellings have to abide by the amenity space and play space chart at 5.27 of the existing bylaw…
    ONe and two family houses in the A zone do not have to abide by this so with some of the larger lots, and no amenity space requirements. it allows structures to the maximum size allowed as long as they abide to side yard, rear yard etc and allows for as many bedrooms as they like…
    If A zone projects had to deal with the amenity/play space rules…ie…for 3 bedrooms need 65 sq metres amenity space and 2.3 meters square of play space…this would limit greatly the size of additions….

    The collateral damage of an overall ban would be devastating to owners and contractors alike….many contractors are aware of the results of this but 90 percent of home owners would not have a clue until they say that they would like to add something to their homes and then be shocked that they cannot
    mac gervan

  2. Catharina Summers says:

    If one were to stroll or drive through what is described as the “University District”. It is an absolutely appalling sight. Garbage is strewn everywhere. This is why folks are concerned about student housing. Students have free reign. they party to the late hours, toss their garbage outside for all to view, and then complain about their housing conditions. The City must step up and start enforcing our by-laws as to good citizenship. If the “University District” were not so disgraceful, folks would not be concerned about student housing coming to their neighbourhoods.

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