Wednesday, August 15, 2012

HERITAGE MEETS SOCIAL HOUSING

The city of St. John’s is experiencing an affordable housing shortage. The vacancy rate in St. John's is among the lowest in Canada. St. John’s Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff has been calling for more affordable housing.

Could the obvious need for affordable housing in St. John’s dovetail with the conservation and/or preservation of the city’s heritage buildings? Heritage Conservation and affordable housing have made for some interesting partnerships in many jurisdictions.

In today’s Globe & Mail, Rick Hall, a past chair of the Cabbagetown heritage advisory committee offers the example of synergies and conflicts between heritage preservation and sustaining social housing in Vancouver, Sydney- Australia, Toronto and Sheffield –England.

Can St. John’s benefit from the mistakes and successes of others?

The city has been a pioneer when it comes to urban built heritage. There will always be debate between the so called “heritage elite” and ordinary residents. I believe there is widespread support for the public preservation of our build heritage.

I see a natural fit, a compatible set of goals that would serve to remind us of our past architectural heritage and our current social needs. 

Why not combine the efforts of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador with the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation to assist meeting the goals of affordable housing and preserving our great historic built heritage.


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