May 2017: City Musings

What’s the Plan?
Well, city council is at it again; trying to figure out what Peterborough should look like in the coming decades. Previous councils throughout the years have sat down with consultants and citizens to sketch out the landscape before them and develop an “official plan.” Did they ever imagine not owning the hydro poles? Probably not. How about paving a wetland to build a casino? Unlikely. 100 years to build the parkway? Doubt it. So better call in the experts and futurists to draw the map. Let’s contract consultation. This time Jeffrey Humble, Peterborough’s new planning director, wants to spend $325,000 to make sure there’s someone to blame if things don’t go the way they envisioned. Here’s a plan? How about fix the infrastructure, sufficiently fund education. take care of environmental and social safety nets and let things grow organically. After all, works great in nature.

9th Ain’t Bad?
So Peterborough made #9 on the MoneySense list of best places to buy real estate in Canada. Though there was no list for best places to sell, it would have made that one too. Why? Because there is just not enough homes to fill the demand and the ones that have gone up for sale, most often sell well above asking price. But before you get too excited and list your house, remember, unless you’re going to move to Coe Hill or downsize, you’re going to need deep pockets to be able to afford the next one here. With an average house price of $325,000, you’ve either a big down payment, over-paid, or have faith that interest rates won’t rise any time soon. The later is of course not the case as Reserve Banks around the world float an increase. The Bank of Canada continues to forecast a growing economy, which means higher interest rates, which means they think you can afford more. The winners? Those who have money that earns interest. The losers?
Everyone attempting to make ends meet.
Staying Warm
The result of those high house prices and demand is the unavailability of affordable housing in Peterborough. And with that, the folks of at the Warming Room decided to stay open until the end of June because of the shortage. With the sign of selective landlords, high demand and expensive rent, the need for housing is always growing. BTW, the Warming Room is looking for volunteers to help carry them through the extra months. As always, it falls to those who volunteer as if it’s their problem. Christian Harvey, the director of the Warming Room says there are on average 24 people staying over each night. A place to sleep. Peterborough isn’t alone as every community struggles with affordable housing and living income. In Canada alone an estimated 235,000 people are without permanent housing at some point in the year, and 35,000 on any given day. Staggering. Experiments with Basic Income over the next year will flesh out the data that may help aleviate much of the social burden. 2000 of the 4000 participants, are our neighbours to the West. Lindsay will see 2000 citizens receive up to $16,989 per year for a single person, less 50 percent of any earned income. A good financial cushion for people to find adequate housing and keep it. The extra cash also allows many to continue with their education. For many it will the difference between healthy food and the alternative. Most promising is the acceptance the conservative culture has had with the fiscal sense. After all it’s cheaper to help people up and out of poverty than it is to help them for life.