The City of Peterborough has announced the members of the Mayor’s Task Force for Housing Creation — a group of builders and housing development professionals that will assist the city as it works to meet its provincially assigned target of 4,700 new housing units by 2031.
The task force members are Paul Bennett of Ashburnham Realty, Chelsea Combot of Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, Brian Fenton of Peterborough Homes, Hans Jain of Atria Development Corporation, Hope Lee of Peterborough Housing Corporation, Rebecca Schillemat of Peterborough and the Kawarthas Home Builders Association, Brad Smith of AON Inc., and Susan Zambonin of Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region.
In October 2023, Peterborough Mayor Jeff Leal announced the creation of the task force, originally to be called the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing & Future Growth. At the time, the city said it had streamlined its development application processes with the support of provincial funding, including by launching a dedicated customer service centre called Plan-Build Peterborough in April 2023 to assist with planning and building services inquiries.
“We need further input from the development community on any other opportunities for municipal support and to consider barriers to accelerating housing starts that may be outside of municipal control,” Mayor Leal said at the time.
In the media release from the city on Friday (January 12) announcing the task force members, the city also announced it had exceeded its provincially assigned housing target of 345 housing starts last year, having issued permits to Peterborough homebuilders to start construction on 435 housing units in 2023.
“Exceeding the provincial housing target demonstrates the city’s commitment to doing everything in its power to ensure the local building industry will achieve the provincial housing targets,” Mayor Leal said in the release.
According to the release, Mayor Leal will work closely with development industry professionals on ways the city can promote the construction of new housing units while the development sector deals with various pressures affecting housing construction, which include high interest rates for financing development projects, inflationary price increases for construction materials, and challenges in the labour market.
“Thank you to each of the members of the Mayor’s Task Force for Housing Creation for sharing their time and expertise on this critical issue for our community,” Mayor Leal said in the release. “The members of this task force have considerable experience building housing and are in the field each and every day — they are well placed to make helpful recommendations.
The city noted the task force is expected to present a final report to Mayor Leal in mid-2024. The report will include recommended actions the city could take to facilitate the construction of 4,700 new housing units by 2031.