Residents slam housing proposal

Deana Stokes Sullivan
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Mount Pearl city planner Stephen Jewczyk explains a pilot project, proposed by Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corp., to reconfigure a single, attached housing unit on Spruce Avenue to provide two one-bedroom units, during a public hearing at city hall

The City of Mount Pearl was sent a clear message Tuesday night: residents in the Spruce Avenue
/Commander Place area are not in favour of a pilot project proposed by Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corp. (NLHC).
The proposal involves reconfiguring a single, attached housing unit with three bedrooms on Spruce Avenue into two one-bedroom units.
About 60 people attended a public hearing held in the council chambers, with councillors saying meetings at city hall usually don't draw such a large crowd. Twenty written representations were received prior to the meeting, in addition to verbal representations.
Melissa Kinsella, who submitted a written presentation and spoke at the meeting, said she lives in the unit identified for the pilot, but wasn't notified by NLHC in advance. She said when she first heard about the proposal, she contacted NLHC and a housing officer told her she had no knowledge of it.
"I'm a single mother with three kids. What are you going to do with me?" she asked.
Dean Collins, representing NLHC, said whenever units are renovated, the tenants are consulted and a decision made to best suit their needs.
A young girl in the room also asked what will happen to children like herself - will they have to move to other neighbourhoods and be separated from their friends?
Deputy Mayor Jim Locke, chairman of the city's land use and planning committee who chaired the meeting, told her not to worry because this is still only an application for one housing unit and council hasn't made any decision on it yet.
Locke said information from the public hearing will go back to his committee for discussion and then will be presented to council. Residents were assured they will be notified in advance of the date the application will be voted on by council.
City planner Stephen Jewczyk said the proposal arose out of discussions between the city and NLHC over the past three to four years about the corporation wanting to provide more affordable housing. One way to do this, he said, is for NLHC to reconfigure existing units.
Jewczyk said the proposal would require rezoning and an amendment to Mount Pearl's development regulations to allow higher residential density in the area.
Collins said NLHC hasn't been able to meet recent demands for one and two-bedroom units and the objective of pilot projects, proposed for Mount Pearl, St. John's and Corner Brook is to reconfigure larger units to provide one and two-bedroom units.
He said the Spruce Avenue proposal involves taking a three-bedroom housing unit and converting it to two units - a one-bedroom unit on the lower level and one-bedroom unit on the upper level.
Residents at the meeting voiced concerns about existing traffic congestion, the possibility that their property values will drop with the zone change and that this project will be just the beginning of more housing reconfigurations.
Jim Saunders said Spruce Avenue isn't wide enough now for two cars to pass when a vehicle is parked on the street, the residents are still waiting for sidewalks and there are problems with vandalism.
"If Newfoundland and Labrador Housing doesn't have a use for these houses as they are now, sell them off," Saunders said, receiving a round of applause.
Allison Pennell said she's opposed to families being torn apart by decisions like this.
Ella Button said she fears if this project is approved, there will be a larger proposal down the road.
Ben Dunne, a resident of Smallwood Drive, agreed.
"I think the Spruce Avenue thing is a test case. If one gets through, it will open the floodgates," he said.
Glenda Parsons, a resident in the area for more than 30 years, said NLHC hasn't been a good neighbour. "I don't blame the residents," she said, "but NLHC neglects their properties."
Steve Kent, MHA for the area, was in the audience listening to the concerns before speaking himself. He said he was shocked to hear residents directly affected by this were not contacted by NLHC in advance.
Kent said he doesn't believe increasing the density in what's already a high-density area is a good move. However, he said, having been on the other side of the room in the past, serving on Mount Pearl council, "I feel very confident that this council will listen to your concerns."

dss@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, Mount Pearl council

Geographic location: Spruce Avenue, Mount Pearl, St. John's Corner Brook Newfoundland and Labrador

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    I believe NLHC should have done a better job in communicating on this, but even if they had, there still would have been strong opposition, based on the meeting turnout. What a close-minded bunch in Mount Pearl. The increased density is negligible. The neighbours are prejudiced against low income people. NLHC owns this house. It was built for a time when people had large families. Now that's not the case, and their clients are often single people or couples, and they need to meet that need. Where is the generosity of spirit in Mount Pearl? Very sad.

  • Signs of Salem
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    And Mt Pearl calls itself a VIBRANT and PROGRESSIVE community...What a joke. Apparently it's not INCLUSIVE either. Come live in Mt. Pearl ... it's a great place to live, to work --- but wait, you're only welcome as long as you meet the city's social standards. Seems to me that someone took it upon themselves to rally the masses to the witch burning. Maybe the sign to their City should say WELCOME TO SALEM - MESS WITH US AND YOU MIGHT GET BURNED

  • Cheerbear
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    There are too many family homes and not enough for singles/couples.

  • Saucy Face
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Imagine the state Mt. Pearl would be in if they had a major issue to deal with.
    It's time Randy for you and the rest of you bedroom council to pull up your underoos and deal with this grown up problem.

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    NIMBY. Too good for ya is it? Suck it up. This is still Kanada and to be a part of it you need to accept all people. Otherwise we have flights leaving for North Korea or China daily that I am sure you could get a seat sale on.

  • janet
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    i am a single person living in a basemen t apartment in mt pearl, i have been dealing with[SLUM LANDLORDS[ since moving in here nearly 3 years ago, i would welcome a nice housing unit and be able to reside in mt pearl wher ei grew up since the age of 3 years old, i am paying through the nose for a roof over my head and have to pay all utilies myself, while living way below poverty level.

  • Political Watcher
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I can't believe it; a full meting and public session and not a word from Paula all things development Tessier.
    This is just another case of the arrogance of Mount Pearl Council, expecting the residents to believ whatever they say.
    In the bigger scheme of things, this is a minor isue and yet again shows that Mount Pearl Council has very little to do but sit around once a week and justify a meal.

  • Isabelle
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    When my sons was looking for an apartment in St. John's it was near impossible but there were plenty in Mount Pearl, reasonable rent too as compared to St. John's....

    There is a need for smaller units ...if you got two or more children it means they share a room!!! Hey I grew up in a house and never had a room of my own until I bought my own house. Shared a three bedroom home with eight people and five were adults.

    I know a family on social assitance and they have a three bedroom home from housing and they have their own room and their two grown unemployed adult daughters each have their own room. Complete with computers, televisions and internet.

  • Landlord in Mount Pearl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    To janet parsons:

    Just wondering, how much are you paying a month for rent? Also, it's pretty standard for tenants to pay all utilities themselves. If the place you are staying is so bad, why don't you leave? After 3 years, I'm sure you would have been able to find suitable housing for yourself in that time.

  • Neighbor
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    As a concerned citizen in Mount Pearl, I also have some concerners with the Spruce Avenue Developement. Some of the readers may not realize that there is only 2 vacant units out of the 20 NLHC units on Spruce, the reason they are vacant is due to the amount of mold and rotting windows and siding, most of the units already house families of 3, 4, and 5 residents. they are being used for exactly what they were intended to be, family units. With the exception of 2 homes on the street, it is a very quiet neighborhood.
    A note for Janet Parsons, these homes are in desparate need of repairs, some people are cleaning mold off their windows and exterior walls on a daily basis, they have the old tiles on the floors that you would see in schools, they are drafty from rotting windows and doors, so I guess NLHC should be considerded a slum landlord also.
    It might be time for NLHC to pull up their socks, and develope a level of standard for these low income families to live in, starting with making the houses they rent at lest healthy, some of the children living in these homes have special needs, allergies, and constant sinus and lung infections. And second NLHC should put in place a policy to screen their tennents, a clear letter of conduct from the RNC for all adults living in the units would certainly make the neighbourhood safe for everyone in the area.

  • Renter
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Only in Newfoundland do you see the POU thing as much. Other areas seem a little more progressive in this regard and include them in the rent. Too bad things have not progressed here and greed reigns over all.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    I believe NLHC should have done a better job in communicating on this, but even if they had, there still would have been strong opposition, based on the meeting turnout. What a close-minded bunch in Mount Pearl. The increased density is negligible. The neighbours are prejudiced against low income people. NLHC owns this house. It was built for a time when people had large families. Now that's not the case, and their clients are often single people or couples, and they need to meet that need. Where is the generosity of spirit in Mount Pearl? Very sad.

  • Signs of Salem
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    And Mt Pearl calls itself a VIBRANT and PROGRESSIVE community...What a joke. Apparently it's not INCLUSIVE either. Come live in Mt. Pearl ... it's a great place to live, to work --- but wait, you're only welcome as long as you meet the city's social standards. Seems to me that someone took it upon themselves to rally the masses to the witch burning. Maybe the sign to their City should say WELCOME TO SALEM - MESS WITH US AND YOU MIGHT GET BURNED

  • Cheerbear
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    There are too many family homes and not enough for singles/couples.

  • Saucy Face
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Imagine the state Mt. Pearl would be in if they had a major issue to deal with.
    It's time Randy for you and the rest of you bedroom council to pull up your underoos and deal with this grown up problem.

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    NIMBY. Too good for ya is it? Suck it up. This is still Kanada and to be a part of it you need to accept all people. Otherwise we have flights leaving for North Korea or China daily that I am sure you could get a seat sale on.

  • janet
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    i am a single person living in a basemen t apartment in mt pearl, i have been dealing with[SLUM LANDLORDS[ since moving in here nearly 3 years ago, i would welcome a nice housing unit and be able to reside in mt pearl wher ei grew up since the age of 3 years old, i am paying through the nose for a roof over my head and have to pay all utilies myself, while living way below poverty level.

  • Political Watcher
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    I can't believe it; a full meting and public session and not a word from Paula all things development Tessier.
    This is just another case of the arrogance of Mount Pearl Council, expecting the residents to believ whatever they say.
    In the bigger scheme of things, this is a minor isue and yet again shows that Mount Pearl Council has very little to do but sit around once a week and justify a meal.

  • Isabelle
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    When my sons was looking for an apartment in St. John's it was near impossible but there were plenty in Mount Pearl, reasonable rent too as compared to St. John's....

    There is a need for smaller units ...if you got two or more children it means they share a room!!! Hey I grew up in a house and never had a room of my own until I bought my own house. Shared a three bedroom home with eight people and five were adults.

    I know a family on social assitance and they have a three bedroom home from housing and they have their own room and their two grown unemployed adult daughters each have their own room. Complete with computers, televisions and internet.

  • Landlord in Mount Pearl
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    To janet parsons:

    Just wondering, how much are you paying a month for rent? Also, it's pretty standard for tenants to pay all utilities themselves. If the place you are staying is so bad, why don't you leave? After 3 years, I'm sure you would have been able to find suitable housing for yourself in that time.

  • Neighbor
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    As a concerned citizen in Mount Pearl, I also have some concerners with the Spruce Avenue Developement. Some of the readers may not realize that there is only 2 vacant units out of the 20 NLHC units on Spruce, the reason they are vacant is due to the amount of mold and rotting windows and siding, most of the units already house families of 3, 4, and 5 residents. they are being used for exactly what they were intended to be, family units. With the exception of 2 homes on the street, it is a very quiet neighborhood.
    A note for Janet Parsons, these homes are in desparate need of repairs, some people are cleaning mold off their windows and exterior walls on a daily basis, they have the old tiles on the floors that you would see in schools, they are drafty from rotting windows and doors, so I guess NLHC should be considerded a slum landlord also.
    It might be time for NLHC to pull up their socks, and develope a level of standard for these low income families to live in, starting with making the houses they rent at lest healthy, some of the children living in these homes have special needs, allergies, and constant sinus and lung infections. And second NLHC should put in place a policy to screen their tennents, a clear letter of conduct from the RNC for all adults living in the units would certainly make the neighbourhood safe for everyone in the area.

  • Renter
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Only in Newfoundland do you see the POU thing as much. Other areas seem a little more progressive in this regard and include them in the rent. Too bad things have not progressed here and greed reigns over all.