Muskoka Grapevine; 1 Affordable Housing post triggers over 120 responses on Bracebridge FB page

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Jill Stunell posted the below post on the Facebook group Let's make Bracebridge great again. The issue of affordable housing is a hot topic not just in Muskoka but across Ontario. Muskoka Post's recent coverage on the topic includes the district's 10 year plan strategy which is slow moving and according to consultants for the district will require more staff. Red tape on zoning for certain building types such as tiny homes, including setting limits on square footage does not seem to be helping the situation. Stunell's post had over 120 responses from local residents. Here is just a few which illustrate and highlight the enormity of the problem. Town and District Councillors seemed to have been MIA from the discussion on this post.

Jill Stunell's post on Jan. 2; "I have an idea that I'm really hoping something can be done about. LOW INCOME AFFORDABLE HOUSING. Quite a few people are not able to find a place which makes for more and more people to be homeless. My husband and I being ones that are homeless. We managed to be able to find something for the winter months. But have a very strict deadline to have an affordable secured place. Is there any way to have more low income places built instead of money grabbing places. I feel like We don't really need all these condos and expensive houses."


Loree Appleton; "Jill I have been on the housing list for 10 yrs now, I know everyplace I have put down is not available, and they wonder why people move into the bush in tents, This is Canada, and it should not be like this, but the government really doesn't care."

Tiffany Smith; "More subdivisions of tiny homes would be amazing. I wish I could help."

Mark Stivrins; "Nothing to do with greed, and far more to do with seasonal folks taking over councils and making rules to stop development."

Dawn Lambert; " Yes rent is expensive but it’s actually not always greed. I have been a landlord. Between the cost of mortgage rate increases and land taxes i was actually losing money on my property each month as I could only rent it for so much then could only increase by a certain percentage legally. Then having my tenant do over $30,000 in damage to my home I was forced to sell."

Mark Stivrins; " Because groups like the Muskoka Lakes Association use them to swing alot of political weight around here on how the councils are made up. Those councils are based on no development so we can be kept as "visual corridors" for the seasonal crowd. I can happily provide many many supporting documents showing how a non permanent vote creates the boutique townships and towns we have today. We are being purposely held back to be "quaint" while ignoring the very real needs of those that live (or try to) here."

Susan Read; "I agree, single Mother of 2 WE NEED AFFORDABLE HOUSING."

Vanessa Eaton; "Yes 100% agree more affordable housing needs to be built in muskoka not more condos. Look after our residents that are here full time not just the visitors."

Bailey Anne Merritt-Hirseland; "People dont make places affordable because people trash their homes and it costs a fortune to repair to rent."

Tamsen Tillson; "try contacting Scott Aitchison, our new MP. Affordable housing is one of his key priorities. He even talked about it in his first, very brief speach in the House of Commons. He may have some ideas or be able to advocate for you."

Jill Stunell; "thanks I'll try that. I tried to call the MP's office but never got an answer an wasn't able to leave a message."

Amber Radley; "I agree we have been homeless since April due to lack of adfordable places ! Something should be done!"

Heather Donovan; "There needs to be a tax brake or something along that line to give a landlord incentive to lower rent. Of course we need to build more affordable housing but in the mean time give the home owners an incentive."

Cheryl Root MacMillan; " This already exists. Good friends of ours built a horrid fixer upper and turned it into something stunning, knowing that this grant was available and because they are wonderful community members who wanted to offer a beautiful rental, below market value to help 'make Bracebridge great again.' What happened? They got screwed by tenants time and time again with lies, missing rent, ridiculous damage and ultimately had to pay to legally evict MORE than once. The sad thing is how much brand new, unopened merchandise was left behind by tenants - there clearly was money wasted because of entitlement. These friends never recovered that income. Obviously this isn't the way all renters are, but the changes to the landlord tenant act which were designed to protect the vulnerable from slumlords have had the opposite effect - making it so risky to be a landlord that we now have a housing crisis.

I have happily lived in a tiny home we built 15 years ago (before they were trendy) with high quality reclaimed materials and a building cost of less than $300. We LOVED living there those two years and didn't realize we were inadvertently breaking the law of having to have a minimum 650sq' footprint for a dwelling. Ironically we now often live in our travel trailer by choice and rent out our home seasonally to make ends meet. Last I checked, a tiny home 'subdivision' could be built if the land was zoned for a trailer park. Given the need for tourist accommodations (tourism IS our bread and butter here in Muskoka), it might be lucrative to capitalize upon the AirBNB potential of trendy tiny homes and build additional units specifically for the purposes of generating rental income to subsidize the building of affordable units for locals. My siblings own a unique condo in what used to be one of the derelict housing project areas of Toronto - the new community plan is gorgeous and intentionally mixes privately owned units and subsidized units on the same street. Regular community BBQs, a splash pad, reduced traffic, beautiful landscaping, childcare cooperative etc. all make this a wonderful community for all. Could work in Muskoka too!"

Mark Stivrins; " The tenant act does unfortunately create a situation that allows a renter more rights in a property than the owners."

Paula McIsaac; " The absolute best form of affordable housing is the Coop. I lived in one for 15 years....folks from all walks of life coming together in community, some paying market rent, others paying 25% of their income and rent adjustments in hard times.Everyone working together on maintenance, finance etc. Equality and dignity. Unfortunately and sadly our governments do not readily support the low interest loans to build or buy the buildings."

Fyonna Vanderwerf; "As someone who has 700 sq foot cozy 1 bedroom to turn into a potential rental...the logistics of working with community housing ( they choose tenants ) to permits etc with Town and AirBnB being so easy to set up and regulate...Muskoka needs to reexamine. The developers also need to remember 350000 is not affordable housing on minimum wage."

Elaine Matthews; "Agreed Jill... these new places are built only with the rich in mind...more should be done to help those with lower incomes who are earnestly seeking the help needed. It saddens me to see buildings sitting vacant for years, when they could help with the crisis of homelessness."

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