Arrowdale Golf Course Sale Considered to Support Funding for Affordable Housing

 

Ward 1 Councillor, Jan Vanderstelt, will be requesting a discussion within Brantford City Council to sell Arrowdale Municipal Golf Course and use the proceeds to partially fund affordable housing in the city.

Vanderstelt explains his suggested plan is two-fold. The initial sale of  Arrowdale, less any costs associated, would go into provincially sanctioned municipal housing funding, as well as assessment and property taxes from the property. It is estimated the sale of the golf course could fetch $22 million.

In October, Brantford Council approved the Brantford-Brant Municipal Housing Master Plan which proposes the construction of 506 municipally owned units over the next 10 years. To make this possible the City of Brantford and County of Brant will have to contribute approximately $28,000,000.

“We’re already in a housing crisis. There’s not enough room in our shelters. We’ve been through that. There’s also not enough rental housing available in the City of Brantford. I have people calling me and asking me on a regular basis –  Where do I move to? Where do I go? Are there any apartments available? I think we’re down around 1 percent vacancy.”

Jan Vanderstelt, Ward 1 Councillor

In his Notice of Motion to be presented to council, Vanderstelt states there is already an existing, demonstrated and growing need for good, safe and affordable rental housing in Brantford. He says the evidence of this is the over 1,700 households on the Brantford Access to Housing social housing waiting list, the 69% increase in shelter usage this year over last and the increase in homelessness encampments throughout the city.

“It’s early and it’s just a priority question. That’s why I’m bringing it to council as an open ended question without a seconder. What I want to know from our council is whether or not they feel it’s more important to subsidize golf or subsidize housing. I think it’s a fair question. They can feel free to disagree but in my understanding with the problem of funding is that it’s only going to get worse. We’re going to be responsible for 30 percent of health care costs come January. We have an outstanding infrastructure deficit. We peeled back our infrastructure levy in order to keep taxes down. Where else can we get this block of funding from…hence the question.”

Jan Vanderstselt, Ward 1 Councillor

Vanderstelt’s idea to use proceeds of the sale of the golf course was in response to a KPMG consultant’s report to council suggesting its sale as one of 103 cost saving/efficiency recommendations. Arrowdale has been running a deficit for several years. There has been a steadily declining membership and the trend suggests that to continue.

The motion for the sale will include a neighborhood park as well as a full public consultation process.

“I see it being large enough to include modern playground equipment, splash pad, an area reserved for community gardens, and perhaps even an outdoor rink and toddlers winter sledding area.”

Jan Vanderstelt, Ward 1 Councillor