This is a common myth about affordable housing development. There have been many studies conducted on this question which have concluded that development of affordable housing has no bearing on surrounding property values. A 2008 study by the Wellesley Institute in Toronto concluded “there was no evidence that the existence of supportive housing building studied has negatively affected property values in the neighbourhood. Property values have increased and crime decreased in the period considered”.
This is another common myth. A comprehensive Canadian study of 146 supportive housing sites concluded “there was no statistically significant evidence that supportive housing led to increased rates of reported violent, property, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct or total crimes” (George Galster, Kathryn Pettit, Anna Santiago, and Peter Tatian, The Impact of Supportive Housing on Neighbourhood Crime Rates, 2002). In fact, occupants of new affordable housing often already live in the neighbourhood.
Stormwater management and drainage is an important element of any development project. As part of the rezoning application, we commissioned and submitted a Stormwater Management Report, prepared by engineering firm, EXP Services. The report analyzes the existing drainage conditions of the site and proposes a comprehensive Storm Water Management (SWM) strategy for incorporation into the design. The SWM strategy will be scrutinized by the City to ensure it meets the allowable release rate for storm events, including 100-year peak flow storm events. The SWN strategy proposes two underground “superpipe” storage facilities and two rooftop control storage areas. The report concluded that the SWM strategy will maintain the allowable release rate of 364.9 L/s during a 100-year peak flow storm event.
When the former Mountain Secondary school lands were declared surplus by the School Board, the City considered purchasing the lands for use as a public park. The City subsequently determined that the neighbourhood was adequately serviced by parklands and put the land to sale for the explicit purpose of developing much needed affordable housing. In the City’s Conditional Sale Offer document (paragraph 5), the land was offered for sale with a representation from the City that the neighbourhood had been assessed as adequately serviced by parklands, and so, a parkland dedication would not be required.
The greenspace will be accessible through walkways and a green corridor from Caledon and Tyrone Ave and will offer programing and facilities that speak to the need of the residents and local community.
Abatement activities are currently underway at the former school. Prior to the commencement of demolition, a pest control company will be engaged to review and survey the site for infestations and provide a remediation action plan as necessary. While the City of Hamilton does not require this, it is a common practice for demolition in other jurisdictions and will be used to minimize the impact of vermin displacement on the surrounding community.
Building much needed affordable housing is financially difficult at the best of times. In the context of escalating land prices and construction costs, it becomes even more difficult to deliver sustainable and affordable housing. For that reason, a minimum threshold of density is required to make the project viable. We are not pursuing the highest and best use of the land, but are instead pursuing the minimum density to ensure viability of the development for generations to come. We are making use of stepbacks in the apartment buildings and concentrating townhouses along Tyrone and Caledon Avenue. These are choices intended to respect the character of the existing community.
A Traffic Impact (TI) Study was commissioned for the rezoning application to collect current traffic data, forecast future total traffic condition upon completion of the development, and prepare a transportation demand management plan for incorporation into design. The TI Study and related management plan will be reviewed by the City as part of the rezoning and site plan applications.
What about noise? A Noise Impact Study was commissioned and included in the rezoning application. The study assessed, among other things, the noise impact of the proposed development on the surrounding neighbourhood. At the current design, the predicted sound levels are expected to be below the sound level limits set by the City. This finding will be re-evaluated upon more detailed design and equipment selection.