For at least a decade, Waterloo Region has had 3,000 names on a waiting list for affordable housing.
That’s more than 8,000 adults and children desperate for low-cost shelter in one of Canada’s wealthiest regions.
Which makes me wonder why our regional government would even consider demolishing two poorly-maintained houses it owns next to Joseph Schneider Haus at Queen Street and Schneider Avenue.
While some regional representatives want to flatten the the large houses located in the Victoria Park heritage neighbourhood in order to add a green area adjacent to Schneider Haus, Kitchener heritage officials are concerned about the impact demolitions could have on Queen Street, Schneider Avenue and the nearby community. They also worry about the possibility the site could be used for future development once homes are bulldozed.
I don’t blame them for those concerns considering regional government’s poor record involving houses it owned on nearby Benton Street. The inadequately-maintained houses, soon to be demolished, were sold to a developer as part of the upcoming Barra Castle development on Queen. As ward councillor in recent years, I dealt with numerous property-standard complaints about the declining condition of those houses and lots.
Questions about the two homes next to Schneider Haus:
- Despite the expense, why can’t they be renovated, donated to a non-profit group and used for affordable housing?
- Why have the properties been so poorly maintained they are now being considered for demolition?
- Why is regional government attempting to go the political route to justify demolition despite the fact Kitchener’s heritage staff rejected the proposal more than a year ago?
- Why has there been no effort to alert the public and the Victoria Park Neighbourhood Association about the demolition proposal?
Stay tuned. The issue is currently on hold but could resurface in coming weeks.