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Housing For All Ages And Stages

It seems to be a common housing theme in the GTA: too little rental accommodation, too few options for seniors who wish to downsize, and too expensive for first-time buyers.

In response to these needs the Township of Scugog in north Durham Region, proactively organized a housing advisory committee in 2014 which has been actively diagnosing the issues and providing helpful recommendations.

After two years of work the committee has drafted a housing plan called: ‘Housing for all Ages and Stages’. This plan will be presented at the second annual Scugog Housing Symposium on October 22, 2016 at 11 am in the Community Hall at 1655 Reach Street, Port Perry.

The plan will also be presented to a number of interested community groups at numerous locations over the next couple of months as the Committee seeks input from the community to ensure that the housing needs of the citizens of Scugog are captured and reflected in the final Plan which will be submitted to council in the new year.

“We have an ambitious goal to develop a housing plan that addresses the need to have a robust, welcoming community where individual and family housing needs and dreams can be fulfilled,” said Martha Casson, chairperson of the Scugog Housing Advisory Committee.

The introduction to the plan states:

A holistic housing plan takes into consideration much more than bricks, and mortar and hard costs. An outstanding housing plan considers fundamental human needs: it considers the whole person, safety and security, sustainability, green living, and relational values. In our discussions with people we discerned a trend toward folks seeking more enjoyment and happiness from their homes, rather than owning large homes that are costly, inefficient and burdensome.  With this document our housing committee would like to radically change the concept of a housing plan to incorporate the “happiness factor.” This is a housing plan that offers something for everyone, whatever their age, income level, ability or aspiration. It is our hope that the fulfillment of this plan will enable people to experience the joy of community in Scugog and that it will form an important component to the Port Perry Community Improvement Plan.

Incorporated in the plan are suggestions for a full range of housing types and ownership options. One suggestion that generated a lot of interest at last year’s symposium was the concept of several unrelated persons sharing home ownership, much like the “Golden Girls” television show which was popular in the 80’s.

This year’s symposium will feature sessions by paralegal Teresa Hunt on the roles, rights and responsibilities of tenants, and a concurrent session on new developments in Scugog.

For more on the plan and subsequent meetings where the plan will be presented please contact Lindsay Burnett at

About the author: Anita DeVries is executive officer of the Durham Region Home Builders’ Association, voice of the residential construction industry in Durham.

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