Council OKs Smart Cities prep
Mayor wants to win $50M for an affordable housing project
City council voted a final time Monday to enter a competition run by the federal government to win $50 million for downtown affordable housing.
Although the Smart Cities Challenge is currently closed and accepting no entries for 2020, Mayor Diane Therrien asked council to start preparing now for a relaunch of the competition in the spring.
The plan carried with no debate or discussion from councillors on Monday night. The Smart Cities Challenge, run by Infrastructure Canada, awarded a top prize of $50 million to the City of Montreal earlier this year for its project to make it easier for vulnerable citizens to access food and transit.
Therrien proposed earlier this month that the city strike a committee — which she would chair — to prepare a Smart Cities entry for 2020.
Councillors gave preliminary approval to prepare an entry to Smart Cities earlier this month, and on Monday the plan got a final vote.
If Peterborough is included on a shortlist of 20 municipalities, states a report from Therrien to councillors, the city would win $250,000 to develop a detailed plan.
The city has been plagued with skyrocketing rents for several years, while at the same time the vacancy rate has shrunk to 1.5 per cent as of last year.
When the Warming Room homeless shelter closed on July 1, an encampment of more than 40 tents was set up in Victoria Park and smaller tent cities also sprung up at city hall and at parks and church properties.
The large encampment at Victoria Park was dismantled at the end of August, when the homeless were faced with evictions, and many people went to
camp elsewhere in public.
Most of the campers who’d pitched tents at Emmanuel United Church or St. John’s Anglican Church (with clergy permission) dispersed this fall; some said they would couchsurf.
The city currently has cots available for homeless people every night in the auditorium of the Peterborough Public Library.
Although those cots are to be moved to the dining hall of Murray Street Baptist Church, it wasn’t clear this week when that will occur since the dining hall at the church needs renovations in order to safely serve as a nighttime dormitory.
Mayor Diane Therrien