Lisa Gervais: Housing need remains high
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | April 6, 2017|
Places for People is inviting the public to have a look at their new acquisition in Minden next Wednesday.
The open house will be from noon to 3 p.m., April 12, at 3 McPherson.
The P4P team has been getting the place spruced up for tenants.
Fay Martin tells us that the response to the story that P4P had this house available was both amazing and heartbreaking – as they could only choose one tenant.
She said that she stopped keeping notes in the latter days but had at least 20 calls.
They included some “dire” inquiries, according to Martin, such as someone claiming that the Children’s Aid Society was threatening to take their children if appropriate housing wasn’t found; women being discharged from shelters; and singles, including one guy living in his truck with his dog, who was working and had money for rent but couldn’t find a place.
She also had calls from couples, some she described as sounding quite comfortable financially but not able to find rental places. There was an older woman with some physical/mobility issues whose social worker called on her behalf, while she wailed in the background “but we’re a family, too” according to Martin.
It is all very illuminating about the breadth and depth of the housing need here.
We had a look at some figures that Martin supplied to get a better handle on how difficult it is to find affordable housing in Haliburton County.
They’re from the 2005 Census. They found that 1,183 homeowners and 385 renters were having housing affordability issues. That means spending more than 30 per cent of income on housing.
We’ll be looking to see the release of 2016 Census figures in May (type of dwelling) and October (housing) to see how we are trending but anecdotally there remains a problem with a lack of affordable housing in Haliburton County.
And, we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the recent release of the Sunshine List.
It contains information on all public sector employees who were paid $100,000 or more in 2016 and are subject to the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act.
What often catches our eye is the municipal employees who annually make the list and this year is no exception.
The fact our county has four lower-tier municipalities in addition to the upper-tier County of Haliburton does come at a cost.
Minden Hills CAO Lorrie Blanchard made $128,403.15. Highlands East CAO Shannon Hunter made $113,219.96. Dysart CAO Tamara Wilbee earned $110,796.16. And, in Algonquin Highlands, CAO Angie Bird finished the year with $109,867.20 and treasurer/deputy clerk Tammy McKelvey was paid $103,778.17.
The highest paid CAO was Mike Rutter with the County of Haliburton, who earned $157,237.16.
All up, that is pretty close to three-quarters-of-a-million-dollars annually.
By contrast, Ron Taylor, the CAO of the City of the Kawartha Lakes – the only CAO in the larger and more populated CKL – earns $166,680.38.
For years the media has printed the list with a tsk, tsk and forgotten about it until the next year’s Sunshine List.
But a new law passed by the Ontario legislature this month will look not just at who earns the big bucks, but why. They will try to figure out what a fair salary is for these positions.
We welcome a discussion about salary caps and a good, hard look at what top jobs are worth.
Lisa Gervais is the editor for The Highlander.