Introducing Dedicated Employee Housing in Kingston
At the Dec. 5 Council meeting, one of the big topics of discussion was the high population growth we expect to see in Kingston in the coming years. The City’s population is projected to reach almost 150 000 by 2026, or close to 170 000 if we include all post-secondary students. This level of growth reinforces the critical need to expand housing options of all different types across the City. To meet the growing need for housing, we will need to think outside the box. For example, I’ve heard from many businesses over last few years about the challenges new employees can face in finding housing. We also see the growing need for more student housing with the rise in the number of students attending Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College.
Based on these housing pressures, we’re taking a creative new approach as a City. We’re going to give businesses the ability to construct housing on their properties for their employees. We’ll also extend that ability to hospitals and post-secondary institutions, for housing for employees or for students. The old approach to zoning was to put businesses, schools and hospitals in one location, and housing in other locations ; but now we’re going to take a new and more integrated approach. The business or institution that builds the housing will be required to own the housing, so that it maintains the purpose of housing for employees. This is a change we will allow across the City, in both the urban and rural areas. City staff will be coming forward with a formal policy change in January, and I’m looking forward to another way that Kingston can lead housing innovation in the province.