A letter To Mayor Mike Savage and all Municipal Councillors
Spryfield Community Association
c/o 15 Sussex Street
Halifax, NS B3R 1N8
To: Mayor Mike Savage and all Municipal Councillors
The Spryfield Community Association is pleased to hear about the recent $8.7 million federal investment in low-income housing projects in Halifax. The Rapid Housing Initiative will help cover the cost of new modular housing and the conversion of existing buildings into affordable housing.
Spryfield Community Association urges that the following criteria be used, and that commitment to these goals should be clearly demonstrated in projects considered for funding.
Inclusive neighbourhoods – Statistics Canada has noted an unfortunate trend toward neighbourhood sorting. Spryfield Community Association believes that a better approach is to embed affordable housing in a variety of neighbourhoods and within a variety of buildings (e.g. group homes, duplexes, tiny homes, condominiums, single family dwellings, room rentals, boarding houses, free-standing and in-home apartments). It is our view that this would be more consistent with Halifax’s stated intention to be more inclusive.
Social gathering places – Both indoor and outdoor gathering places – barrier-free and all-weather public gathering spaces – help to make neighbourhoods more convivial. It is also helpful to have shared community resources (e.g. parks, community centres, sport and recreation amenities, businesses) at various boundaries between different types of neighbourhoods, to increase social interactions between neighbourhoods.
Access to nature – Access to nature in various forms (e.g. nature trails, parks of various sizes, green spaces around buildings) can contribute to mental and physical wellbeing and should be available to all sectors of the population. Access to nature should be a clearly articulated requirement for funding.
Active transportation and rapid transit – These initiatives of Halifax ought to serve a financially and socially diverse population. Persons living in affordable housing must have access to diverse transportation modes. As a condition of funding, buildings must provide and be connected to public pedestrian infrastructure; support ease of transit use; provide bike racks; provide barrier free public all-weather gathering spaces; and provide for community connectivity through publicly accessible connection between streets and to nearby natural areas.
Accessibility – Persons with special needs, persons growing older, and persons needing supportive housing, should be able to live in mixed neighbourhoods with a wide variety of housing options available to them (and see Inclusive Neighbourhoods above). Again, this would be consistent with Halifax’s stated intention to be more inclusive and should be a requirement of the Rapid Housing Initiative fund.
As a volunteer group working to help Spryfield realize its full potential, Spryfield Community Association knows that housing affordability is of major importance in our rapidly growing community.
We congratulate Halifax in being awarded the $8.7 million fund and we offer our support for affordable housing characterized by inclusive neighbourhoods, social gathering places, access to nature, active transportation and rapid transit, and accessibility.
Marjorie Willison, Board Chair