BY TONY REDDIN
Thank you to Ole Hammarlund for his wise insights ('Move business to Charlottetown industrial park, not people' July 26): CADC, Kings Square and others could and should develop mixed-income affordable condominiums and rental units, at both the old Prince Edward Home on Brighton Road, and at the site of the propane facility (why is it still there?) on Allen Street; those ideas make so much good sense.
There is good information online about such housing solutions happening across Canada, e.g., since 1994 in Toronto, a non-profit housing organization called Options for Homes (www.optionsforhomes.ca) has been creating condominiums that are a cheaper choice than renting for people with incomes as low as $20,000.
Although Ole didn't mention this, I'm sure he would agree that energy efficiency design must be part of the Charlottetown housing plan and any housing supported by government. The old Prince Edward Home is already connected to the district heating system, so even if none of the building can be re-used, the site is a logical location (close to schools, parks and services) for energy-efficient accessible units that could accommodate many people, including seniors and families, with various levels of income.
Good public transit connections are also critical for high-quality affordable housing and lessening our dependence on fossil fuels. On another front, Efficiency P.E.I. could add to its excellent work with programs that focus on new low-cost rental units and condos. Support should also go to incorporating innovative community-owned energy projects such as storage and solar PVs.
The recently released P.E.I. Housing Action Plan has an excellent 'Vision and Goals'; however, the vague answer to 'How will the plan address housing needs?' doesn't include any definite number of new affordable units, nor mandate energy-efficient construction.
important issue in the current housing crisis is protecting current tenants from eviction when renovations of rental units are done to decrease energy waste and make other improvements.
Housing policy on P.E.I. must truly address the needs of Islanders on low income, and result in buildings that will give Islanders accessibility to good housing and energy efficiency into the future.
- Tony Reddin, Bonshaw, is a Sierra Club energy policy activist