Edmonton lifts affordable-housing moratorium in core neighbourhoods

Edmonton city council has lifted a moratorium on affordable housing in five neighbourhoods, convinced that a new policy and approach will ensure non-market projects are distributed more evenly throughout the city. 

Council agreed Tuesday to allow affordable housing projects in Alberta Avenue, Central McDougall, Eastwood, McCauley and Queen Mary Park where the moratorium has been in place since 2012.

The mayor said he believes the attitude toward affordable housing is changing, that experts see it as part of the solution to social challenges.

“Housing is one of those anti-poverty measures, that will make a difference and will improve things,” Don Iveson said Tuesday. 

“I think we’ve shifted here from saying affordable housing is a problem and there’s a stigma around it. We really rejected that premise here today and said ‘No, affordable housing is part of the solution.'”

Coun. Tony Caterina said the pause on affordable housing in those neighbourhoods served its purpose but was a “big hammer, pretty blunt.”  

“The pause in my mind, has achieved what we were hoping it would do — invest in housing for everyone in the city.” 

Caterina said he was pleased council approved the policy in August 2018 to have affordable housing spread out across the city at a rate of about 16 per cent per neighbourhood. 

“That was huge, I didn’t think it would happen, honestly. I didn’t think we’d actually get to that point. I didn’t know if we’d get to five per cent or eight per cent of 10 per cent.” 

The city’s housing and homelessness department is compiling a list of potential locations for permanent supportive housing projects, which is expected by the fall.

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