Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - 9:45 AM

What We Heard: Public Engagement for City-Owned Vacant Land as Affordable Housing

Image of colourful homes with trees, text reads 'Affordable Housing St. John's''

The City of St. John’s 10-Year Affordable Housing Strategy outlines a commitment to identify city-owned vacant land for potential redevelopment as affordable housing. During summer and fall 2021 public engagement took place to collect feedback from the community regarding City-owned land at 375 Waterford Bridge Road, 245 Forest Road and 80-90 Empire Avenue.

The What We Heard document for engagement on these locations is now available at EngageStJohns.ca, and will be presented to City Council during the Committee of the Whole meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

The purpose of the engagement was to better understand how stakeholders use these parcels of land, learn about their concerns with developing the sites, and gather ideas about what the community would like to see if the sites were developed as affordable housing.

Residents and businesses in the areas surrounding properties were notified by direct mail, and the city announced each engagement opportunity via Public Service Announcement and shared the information on social media to encourage participation.

For all three parcels of land, key concerns were:

  • The impact of potential development on the environment
  • Parking and/or traffic related concerns
  • Impact on property values, either due to affordable housing or loss of greenspace/view 

Stakeholder ideas about what they would like to see if the sites were developed varied. Some common suggestions included seniors’ housing, accessible housing, one and two-bedroom units to meet current need, and housing that preserves the natural environment as much as possible.

Staff will utilize the information from the What We Heard document and other forms of feedback to develop a list of recommendations for Council consideration on next steps for these parcels of land.