As the City of Kenora looks at their options for housing development, staff and councillors are exploring the option of development in Central Park. 

"While the city is still in the very preliminary stages of the process of having this land redeveloped, the initial process has started. Amendments to the Zoning Bylaw and Official Plan simply allow for a housing project to be considered on the property," it says in a message from the city issued this evening.

"This change will then allow staff to create new lots and undertake a very specific Expressions of Interest process available to interested developers for development on this land. Once the submissions are received from interested parties, council will then have the opportunity to determine what developer/investor they wish to sell the property to and what would be considered the best interest of the city for this property," the message continued.

"Council is very passionate about housing development in our city and also recognizes the great value of green space in our community. Administration is working diligently with user groups and funding opportunities to explore areas where a long term vision of a fourplex baseball diamond could be realized, but in the interim, there will be no impact to users of the existing ball diamond once this change takes place," the message concluded.

Affordable housing has been identified as a key issue in a number of reports from both the city and the district services board. However, in their efforts to create new housing units within city limits, city staff and developers note there are only so many lots available which are suitable, given the difficult terrain in the area.

Along with the social housing being planned by the district services board and its partners, private developers have also been expressing interest. Councillors have taken note, as a key issue in the last municipal campaign was the desire to get through the redtape and help get construction moving. This has been complicated by the pandemic.

Earlier this week, the provincial minister responsible for municipal affairs and housing noted the demand for housing across Ontario. 

A virtual open house on the project is set for Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m, with a statutory public meeting set for Tuesday, Mar. 9 at noon.

For more information:

Housing minister pledges help for new construction

Close to 200 new housing units on hold during outbreak