Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus discussed regional housing plan at ROMA 2023

Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus at ROMA 2023 Conference. (L-R:) Warden Tony Fraser, Warden Harold Hogg, Warden Liz Danielsen, Warden Peter McLaren, Mayor Steve Ferguson, EOWC Chair Peter Emon, Associate Minister Michael Parsa, Warden Normand Riopel, Parliamentary Assistant Amarjot Sandhu, Minister Merrilee Fullerton, MPP Stéphane Sarrazin, Mayor Doug Elmslie, MPP Nolan Quinn, EOWC Vice-Chair Bonnie Clark, Parliamentary Assistant Andrew Dowie, Warden Mandy Martin, MPP Rick Byers, MPP Ric Bresee, Warden Nancy Peckford, MPP John Jordan, Warden Bob Mullin. Photo via EOWC.

Last week, the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) came together to advocate for regional priorities at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) 2023 Conference held in the City of Toronto.

The Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) is a non-profit organization comprised of the Heads of Council of 13 upper and single-tier municipalities across rural eastern Ontario. According to a media release, the Caucus supports and advocates on behalf of 103 municipalities and nearly 800,000 residents, and covers an area of almost 50,000 square kilometres from the County of Northumberland to the Québec border.

From January 22 to 24, 2023, the EOWC joined over 1,400 rural municipal colleagues at the conference to participate in meetings with provincial Ministers, Members of Provincial Parliament, and the New Democratic and Liberal opposition parties to discuss priorities including:

  • Affordable and attainable housing: The ‘7 in 7’ regional housing plan
  • Health care human resources
  • Ontario Health Teams’ governance and structure
  • Long-term care funding and support

“The EOWC was eager and ready to represent our region at the ROMA 2023 Conference and meet with provincial representatives,” said EOWC Chair Peter Emon in a statement. “We were able to gain awareness and traction on our ‘7 in 7’ regional housing plan that proposes to build 7,000 affordable community rental housing units in seven years. The conference presents an opportunity for the EOWC to continue to make progress for our municipalities and residents.”

The ROMA 2023 briefing package can be viewed in full on the EOWC’s website: www.eowc.org/ROMA2023.

The EOWC also met with Ontario Liberal and NDP Caucus members to present and gain valuable feedback on the EOWC’s ‘7 in 7’ Regional Housing Plan. According to the release, the plan was well-received and the EOWC “looks forward to working with both parties as the plan moves forward.”

EOWC’s ‘7 in 7’ regional housing plan

The EOWC said that they have come together to “address the affordable and attainable housing supply shortage.” The EOWC launched the regional ‘7 in 7’ housing project proposal, which plans to build 7,000 affordable community rental units over the next seven years across the region.

“The EOWC wants to do our part to meet the Ontario Government’s target of building 1.5 million homes by 2031,” the organization stated. “Rural communities must not get left behind and rental housing needs to be considered in the solution.”

According to the release, the EOWC has expertise in leading large-scale public-private regional projects. This bold solution would “bring the private, non-profit and public sectors together to build affordable community housing to address the municipal housing wait lists,” EOWC added. The investment “could also incent up to three times the number of attainable market rate units across the region,” they said

The EOWC will be working with a consultant over the coming months to develop a strong business case for the plan, the organization noted. According to the release, the EOWC has met with a variety of provincial and federal elected officials and staff, including most recently during the ROMA 2023 Conference, to share the plan proposal and gain feedback. The EOWC said they will share more information as the plan moves ahead.

For more information on EWOC, visit their website: http://www.eowc.org/en/index.aspx

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