Public information sharing and engagement is required in every community where seniors' housing on a surplus school site has been approved.
The City takes responsibility for sharing all available information and for listening to community concerns, questions and insights that will help make the development the best possible “fit” in the neighbourhood.
You can see the status of communication and engagement in your community. In general, the process is this:
1) Council Discussion and Direction
In October, 2012, City Council approved City Administration’s recommendation to use eight undeveloped building sites to support future seniors’ housing initiatives. Area Structure Plans and Neighbourhood Structure Plans for each of the affected communities were amended to replace text referencing school building sites with text permitting seniors housing.
The eight sites were re-zoned to RA7 – Low Rise Apartment Zone – to allow for residential development of up to four storeys. The rezoning process included a public hearing at Council.
City Council directed administration in 2014 to place notification signs on all surplus school sites showing clearly the location and size of the building site, the adjacent open space, and other associated features.
City administration was directed to ensure public engagement takes place between residents and seniors’ housing developers to ensure the fit of new homes in the community and to develop restrictive covenants and conditions-of-sale agreements to ensure only seniors’ housing is developed on these sites in the future.
2) Information Sharing
A Community Liaison Group has been created with community volunteers who serve to receive City updates and share information back to their communities as these projects develop.
The City's project team goes out to meet with the leadership in each community (such as seniors’ housing advocates and associations, community league executives, homeowner association executives) to provide an overview of program rationale, information about possible housing forms and tenant groups, and possible timelines for initial soil testing and eventual development.
The team notes all questions, concerns and insights as well as suggestions for when and where a broader public meeting should be held.
3) Public Workshops
The City's project team organizes a series of public workshops in a school or hall, and mails an invitation to every home in the community. Community leagues and associations post information on their websites if they consider this of value to members.
The public workshop is an opportunity for residents to provide input on their needs, concerns, and how seniors' housing can best fit into the community. The workshops also allow the City to provide more complete information on the of program rationale, outcomes and possible timelines. Answers will be provided to all questions as far as possible.
Additional questions and insights from the community are noted. Participants are invited to provide their names and e-mail addresses if they wish to subscribe to updates and other communications.
Sometimes, the planned location of the school building does not best suit the location of seniors' housing. Residents may ask if the seniors’ housing could be moved to an alternate site within the Joint Use Area (the parcel assembled for schools and community use).
The City will undertake an examination of whether the alternate site is feasible in regards to:
- additional cost
- technical challenges
- effects on marketability of the housing
- community design and sustainability , or alignment with City policies and plans
If one or more of these conditions indicates the alternate site is not suitable, the approved site will most likely be developed as originally planned.
Further public meetings are held as necessary to ensure community questions and concerns are answered as fully as possible.
4) Community proposals
Anyone interested in developing sites approved for seniors’ housing may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating their company/individual name, contact information including email address and the site(s) of interest.
The City will maintain a list of interested contacts to provide future updates related to the development of new seniors’ housing.