Future of Stoney Creek lots earmarked for affordable housing in doubt after committee vote

Opposition from the business community in Stoney Creek, Ont. appears to have contributed to a hold on development of an affordable housing project earmarked for a parking lot at Lake Avenue South. Google Maps

The future is unclear for a pair of Hamilton, Ont. addresses earmarked for sale in a plan to develop surplus city-owned property into affordable housing.

Two lots on Lake Avenue South in downtown Stoney Creek have been scratched off the list for the time being after a tie vote at a general issues committee meeting rejected conversion of two municipal parking areas to create 67 new affordable housing units.

A petition in December spearheaded by the Stoney Creek BIA has affected the development plan by arguing the lots, at 5 and 13 Lake Avenue South, were the only ones in the area for parking and deemed critical for nearby small businesses and medical clinics.

That same month, Ward 5 councillor Matt Francis won support for an amendment that had a vote held over and the properties held back until February.

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Glanbrook councillor Mark Tadeson was one of the politicians swayed by arguments Wednesday leading to his vote for excluding the lots.

“We can’t treat the city core like we do the outlying regions. Stoney Creek has one bus. People still drive cars in Stoney Creek,” Tadeson argued.

Five city-owned parking lots and vacant properties in Hamilton , Ont. have been identified by non-profit groups as locations some 150 units of affordable housing could be built. City Of Hamilton

Flamborough councillor, Ted McMeekin also sided with the Stoney Creek petition.

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“It’s easy to make a decision between good and evil, (but) in the long run we all want to be on the side of the angels,” he said. “Decisions between competing goods, are a lot tougher.”

In all, six properties were on the list to be developed by non-profits to add 150 permanent dwellings to the city’s affordable housing stock to ease the current housing crunch.

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The idea goes as far back as 2016 when a city report sought approval to declare certain municipal parking lots as surplus, including a lot at 171 Main Street East, which could host as many as 200 or 300 units of housing with rents around $1,000 a month.

Mayor Andrea Horvath, who was in favour of developing the Stoney Creek lots, wasn’t pleased after the vote expressing disappointment in a statement suggesting councillors chose “parking lots over housing people.”

“To be clear, the use of municipal lands for affordable housing is a key part of our Housing Sustainability and Investment Roadmap and we must, as a Council, be doing everything we can to get people housed as quickly as possible,” she insisted.

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The decision to hold on the Stoney Creek lots may not be over, as the GIC vote needs ratification from council next week.

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