By Michael Boriero
Local Journalism Initiative
Sherbrooke’s municipal council adopted bylaw 1204-5, a modification to the legislation that introduces a cost-sharing system between the city and promoters/developers, on Tuesday evening, despite significant pushback from people within the urban development community.
The Association des professionnels de la construction et de l’habitation du Québec (APCHQ) Estrie sent out a press release prior to the city council meeting, urging Sherbrooke’s elected officials to postpone and consider the impact the new bylaw will have on affordable housing.
However, the bill was heavily favoured, as only four councillors voted against it. The APCHQ Estrie wrote that the bylaw will not impact promoters and developers, but rather it will leave many new buyers and tenants in a difficult position, as property and rent prices skyrocket.
The organization has estimated that buyers will face an average increase of at least $20,000 when purchasing a new property, while new tenants will be slapped with an increase of at least $60 per month on their rent. And they believe it will only help to worsen the housing crisis.
According to APCHQ Estrie Director General Sylvain Mathieu, the housing crisis will hit Sherbrooke much harder than it did last year. And the problem, he noted in a phone interview, is the municipal council has an entirely different vision for city compared to the promoters.
“It’s kind of like throwing oil on the fire. We already don’t have a lot of housing, so with the little that we can develop, the city is transferring the costs of parks, bike paths, sidewalks, to the promoters, and what will they do? They are going to transfer it to the buyers,” said Mathieu.
If there is nothing that can be done to change the council’s decision, then there will not be any more development in Sherbrooke, he continued, adding the city already has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the province. Mathieu noted that it will to a mass exodus to nearby towns.
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