Affordable Living

Cathy's Plan - Affordable Living

When looking at affordability, we have to consider more than just housing costs and property taxes. Today's residents are worried about utility costs, the value of their time, walkability, and transportation costs. 

First, we need housing options for everyone, not just the large single family homes that fill most of our traditional neighborhoods.

Seniors are in need of smaller homes that require less maintenance, giving them the ability to remain independent longer. As a city, we need to have a flexible Land Use Bylaw to allow developers to built these types of homes so we can keep our seniors in our community. 

Young first-time buyers are gravitating towards semi-detached homes, smaller spaces, and more focus on walkable services. As a community that has long struggled to retain our youth, this mindset is something we should be considering when approving area plans and neighborhoods.  Eventually, if they choose to have a family that first single family home needs to be within reach. The Land Use Bylaw needs to allow for innovative housing types that are built on smaller lots. It is this missing middle housing type that is lacking in St. Albert

New Area Structure Plans need to include zoning for subsidized housing. By pre-planning where these projects will be we can avoid conflict in the future. Subsidized housing can be contentious, but when managed properly it can bring fantastic residents to our community. Not for Profit projects available through Habitat for Humanity and other groups require close consultation with council and residents. We should be engaging with these groups, so we can ensure it is managed correctly.

Taxes need to be controlled, to ensure value for the money we spend. Nobody likes paying taxes, but the wasteful spending of tax dollars is something we can continue to avoid. For example, repetitive studies and surveys cut unnecessarily into the city coffers, and those funds could be better used elsewhere. 

Utilities were my mission in the last term. A sustainable and self-funding utility model is one of the crucial foundations of a strong city, and I am happy to report that we have finally implemented such a system. Now heavy users of our utilities, along with non-tax payers, no longer benefit disproportionately due to subsidies. 

I believe that the goal of a "community for all" is certainly achievable. It just takes proper planning, innovation, and a heart to welcome everyone into our great city

Affordability is more than house prices and taxes. It balances all expenses against quality of life.

 

- Cathy Heron