The Town of The Blue Mountains is planning a make-over for its attainable housing corporation.
At a special meeting on Nov. 30, council voted to implement several recommendations from CAO Shawn Everitt about the future of the Blue Mountains Attainable Housing Corporation. The report and recommendations were developed in collaboration with the housing corporation’s chair Gavin Leitch.
The future of the housing corporation has been up in the air since the Gateway attainable housing project did not proceed and the town has been pondering what role the corporation will play in the future.
Everitt said the corporation will hold its annual general meeting on Dec. 14 and the CAO explained there is a good chance the volunteer members of the corporation’s board of directors will leave their positions at that meeting.
Everitt himself will represent the town’s position at the annual general meeting.
“My understanding to date from the (corporation’s) chair, there doesn’t seem to be a sense the existing board members will be asking for re-appointment. We won’t have any returning members,” said Everitt.
Everitt recommended that he be given direction by council to appoint five town staff members to the corporation’s board to serve until June 30, 2024. The staff members would join Mayor Andrea Matrosovs and Coun. Shawn McKinlay as board members. The goal would be to complete a review of the corporation’s mandate and governance and report back to council with a future path forward.
McKinlay asked if current volunteer board members could continue serving if they wished to do so. Everitt said that was not an issue, as the board can have up to 20 members.
The CAO said if the current board members depart at the annual general meeting, the town isn’t left with much choice.
“We may be the only ones left standing trying to figure out how the next step for (the housing corporation) works,” he said.
Everitt said the corporation continues to own and manage a single unit of attainable housing and is effectively a landlord. He said there are ongoing bills to be paid and the corporation couldn’t just be shut down and said his recommendation is an “interim measure.”
“Other than this, I’m at a loss,” said Everitt. “It’s essentially keeping the lights on and keeping the bills paid. Just walking away from it is not a simple option.”
The CAO also said a revamp of the corporation’s mandate was critical in order to carry on. He said the goals and direction of the housing corporation have to be clear to attract new volunteer board members from the community.
“We really want to set it up for success,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon said there wasn’t much choice on the matter.
“This is to buy us six months to figure out a direction and vision,” he said.
Council voted unanimously in favour of a pair of resolutions to effectively implement the recommendation from the CAO. The second resolution asked the housing corporation to report back to council with options on April 8, 2024.