It’s Time to Speak Up and Support Rental Housing

It’s time to take action. A virtual Public Meeting has been announced by the Town of Bracebridge, and the Mayor and Council want to hear what you think about rental housing in Bracebridge.

A virtual Public Meeting will be held on July 27 to consider a zoning amendment which would allow for apartments on a 2.2-acre site on Woodward Street in Bracebridge, ON. This is your chance to make a difference and to support much-needed rental housing in Bracebridge.

Let’s Make a Difference

You may have read my recent blog post about the Ontario housing crisis and my latest initiative: proposed rental apartments in Bracebridge, ON.

If you support this project, please submit a written statement of support today to planning@bracebridge.ca. Please include your name, hometown, and reason for interest/support in the project.

Want to learn more? Read on…

I have a vision for a rental housing project on Woodward Street in Bracebridge. It seeks to address Bracebridge’s housing shortage by bringing 49 new attainable, accessible, net zero-ready, energy efficient, environmental, low impact rental units to the community. This offers a high level of social benefit and increases the rental housing options available, which is beneficial to all.

Low-impact site plan. There’s no storm water runoff or drainage from this site, which means we won’t be polluting Muskoka’s beautiful rivers and lakes. All the storm water will be managed on-site, reinvigorating the soil and preserving trees.

Trees will be preserved because the rain water is being managed and filtered on-site, so we won’t have to grade the whole site to move water. The ground and grading won’t have to be altered as much – which minimizes grading changes and therefore minimizes damage to existing vegetation and trees. This is the only way that we can save as many trees along the perimeter of the property as possible. In short, low-impact site plan with effective storm water management = fewer trees cut down!

Low-impact development is green infrastructure. It emphasizes conservation and use of on-site natural features to protect water quality. This means we’re not affecting or altering the water table.
Proposed apartment elevations
Accessible 1-bedroom ground floor 600 sq. ft. apartment
2nd + 3rd floor 2-bedroom 2-storey, 900 sq. ft. apartment
2nd + 3rd floor 2-bedroom 2-storey, 900 sq. ft. apartment

In the past 5 years (2015-2019), according to data from the Town of Bracebridge, only 22 multi-residential apartment units have been approved for construction in Bracebridge. I’m proposing to add 49, which is double the total for the past 5 years.

I’ve been asking for the Town of Bracebridge and the District of Muskoka to work with me by rezoning the 2.2 acre parcel of land to allow for the higher density I need for this new apartment rental project. I’m also going to ask for relief from development charges (levies) and building permit and other development fees.

This project has great community social benefits, and yet opposition from NIMBY neighbouring homeowners has been an issue. The development process typically addresses objections from opponents more than it addresses supporters. That may be because most development projects – especially rental construction – have more objectors (typically NIMBYs and immediate neighbours) than supporters.

I’m therefore now working to engage the people of Bracebridge and to gather public support for this project. I want to give a voice to the many unheard champions and supporters of much-needed rental housing in Bracebridge. 

I think that if local Bracebridge politicians know there’s support from the larger community, it will help them to fend off the NIMBY neighbours. I want to help the decision makers hear from supporters, and not just the neighbours who are in opposition – who are typically the only ones to show up to public meetings about new developments such as this one.

We need to do what is right for the entire community. Given the housing needs in Bracebridge, I believe that my rental concept may have more supporters than objectors.

There’s been a high level of local interest in this project, and it has been covered in several local media sources:

If you support this project, please submit a written statement of support today to planning@bracebridge.ca. Please include your name, hometown, and reason for interest/support in the project.

Pushing for Progress: Tackling the Housing Crisis in Bracebridge

My latest project in the works in Bracebridge, ON – developing and building rental apartments – is attempting to address Muskoka’s housing crisis.

Bracebridge apartments site plan

The housing crisis in Ontario is well-documented. From Toronto and the GTA to other southeastern areas of the province like Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, Peterborough, Barrie, Muskoka and beyond, there’s a serious shortage of housing – and especially low-priced, attainable and affordable housing. A growing population, increasing costs of home ownership, a lack of well-paid and secure jobs, and increasing numbers of single-person households are all contributing to the crisis.

There’s especially a shortage of rental apartments, because the incentives for builders and developers to create rental housing have been very low since the 90s, and the government hasn’t been able to do it on their own. In Toronto, we’ve seen a proliferation of condos, which have higher profit margins for builders. In regions like Muskoka, rentals haven’t been built because of zoning restrictions, prohibitive development costs and government limitations.

Tackling the Housing Crisis

I’ve written about this problem before. (Check out my blog post “Getting to the Bottom of Ontario’s Rental Problem”.) To increase rental supply, I think the best solution is for the private sector (people like me!) to work with government.

This is being done sporadically, but many are skeptical about private/public partnerships, especially with developers.

However, we can all see that neither government nor the private sector alone has been able and/or willing to build sufficient rental housing. Working together is the only way to improve our housing crisis.

My Latest Initiative: Proposed Rental Apartments in Bracebridge

I’ve recently encountered this problem directly in Bracebridge, ON (Muskoka), where I’ve been trying to stir things up by pushing forward an exciting new project.

I have a vision for a rental housing project on Woodward Street in Bracebridge. It seeks to address Bracebridge’s housing shortage by bringing 49 new attainable, accessible, net zero-ready, energy efficient, environmental, low impact rental units to the community. This offers a high level of social benefit and increases the rental housing options available, which is beneficial to all.

In the past 5 years (2015-2019), according to data from the Town of Bracebridge, only 22 multi-residential apartment units have been approved for construction in Bracebridge. I’m proposing to add 49, which is double the total for the past 5 years.

I’ve been asking for the Town of Bracebridge and the District of Muskoka to work with me by rezoning the 2.2 acre parcel of land to allow for the higher density I need for this new apartment rental project. I’m also going to ask for relief from development charges (levies) and building permit and other development fees.

This project has great community social benefits, and yet opposition from NIMBY neighbouring homeowners has been an issue. The development process typically addresses objections from opponents more than it addresses supporters. That may be because most development projects – especially rental construction – have more objectors (typically NIMBYs and immediate neighbours) than supporters.

I’m therefore now working to engage the people of Bracebridge and to gather public support for this project. I want to give a voice to the many unheard champions and supporters of much-needed rental housing in Bracebridge. 

I think that if local Bracebridge politicians know there’s support from the larger community, it will help them to fend off the NIMBY neighbours. I want to help the decision makers hear from supporters, and not just the neighbours who are in opposition – who are typically the only ones to show up to public meetings about new developments such as this one.

We need to do what is right for the entire community. Given the housing needs in Bracebridge, I believe that my rental concept may have more supporters than objectors.

There’s been a high level of local interest in this project, and it has been covered in several local media sources:

If you support this project, please submit a written statement of support today to planning@bracebridge.ca. Please include your name, hometown, and reason for interest/support in the project.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Comment below or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn to join the conversation!

BAM at IBS

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The BAM team was at NAHB’s International Builders’ Show® (IBS) in Vegas to explore the latest and greatest innovations in the building industry. The massive three-day event for industry professionals had an expansive sea of products, workshops and concepts designed to help enhance our business moving forward. All together, there were over 110,000 builders, general contractors, designers, flooring and remodelling professionals, and product suppliers from around the globe.

There were lots of really interesting exhibitors, and demos. We had a chance to check out an immersive virtual reality platform, which allowed us to explore an upscale loft using a VR headset. I’ve written about this in the past, so it was impressive to see it in action. As this year’s show shared a location with the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, there was a ton of kitchen design and organizational elements on display, such stylish built in pizza stoves, and pot/utensil storage solutions. It was also interesting to see the way kitchen design on a whole was changing. It seems as though trends are leaning towards kitchens that have unique elements to them, rather than kitchens that look as though they were all made in the same place at the same time. An example is that rather than granite countertops, there is a rise in other materials, such as concrete, and more bold colours being introduced. On a whole, there seemed to be many home innovations that merely made people’s everyday lives better, and made their homes more functional. From window technology, standing dryers that let you hang clothes and press pants, dual washing machines that let you do two loads at once – to intelligent, smaller scale items, like wall plugs that have USB charging capability, and built-in night-lights.

We also got a chance to see lots of unique design and display options and meet with interesting suppliers. It was exciting to learn – and reinforce – that BAM was already on top of many of the current trends. It’s a testament to our innovation and a great thing to share with our clients, who trust our expertise. It was also inspiring to know that large portions of the technology offerings at the show were from Canadian companies.

It was nice to see so many of our Canadian friends in attendance. In fact, on the night that the BAM team landed in Las Vegas, we spent the evening with some great BILD members, including Bryan Tuckey and Paul Golini, who were celebrating the Canadian nominees at the National Sales and Marketing Council Awards.

Overall, it was a great show – and a great time. We can hardly wait until Orlando 2017!

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New Park In The Treetops Community

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Here at BAM, we’re extremely passionate and play an instrumental role in working with our clients. We help them put their best foot forward when they’re developing the look and feel of their new communities. For this reason, it’s extremely exciting for us to see ideas come to fruition as projects move from development to completion. This can often take some time, as many communities have multiple phases, and certain elements may not be a part of the initial phase.

This was the case with the award-winning Treetops community in Alliston. While working on the project, we encouraged the developer, Lou Biffis, to build a destination community. A community that would require you to spend more time driving to it, but once you arrived, you’d get a superior quality of life with all the amenities you could ever need – or want. A community with ample facilities, including recreation, protected green space, trails and dog parks to walk, run, jog and explore. If you take a look at the community plan, you can see that many of these elements have been wrapped into the overall lifestyle that the community offers homebuyers.

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We were extremely excited to see that Treetops recently opened Treetops Park, which boasts seven acres of activities and diversions for every fitness and energy level, including a multi-level tree-themed playground, splash pad, beach volleyball courts, basketball courts, an amphitheater and a promenade running throughout the park, complete with a lookout area. It’s amazing – and a wonderful amenity for all the community.

It’s a great feeling to see elements come to life in communities – especially when we dedicate so much of ourselves to it in its conceptual phase.

BAM at the Brookfield Residential Charity Golf Classic

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This week, BAM was proudly supporting our client Brookfield Residential at their Charity Golf Classic tournament that took place at the Deer Creek Golf course in Ajax. The tournament, which had roughly two hundred golfers, raised $24,000 for 3 wonderful charities: Habitat for Humanity, WindReach Farm and Precious Minds Support Services.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit that advocates access to decent and affordable shelter and offers a variety of housing support services that enable families with limited means to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. Precious Minds provides support to families with children and youth who have barriers to learning. This includes the full spectrum of learning, physical, developmental and behavioural disabilities. Lastly, WindReach Farm provides an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for people of all ages and disabilities by providing opportunities to enjoy experiences in a farm and natural environment.

BAM ran a blindfolded putting competition, and with the support of many of the tournament’s golfers, we matched $275, for a total donation of $550 towards the three charities. Thank you to everyone who gave our challenge a shot!

You can see our full photo album here.

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