By Debra Grice
The Community Development Committee met in the Conference Room at City Hall at 1:00 p.m. yesterday with the Certificate of Occupancy as the main topic.
First on the agenda was a progress report on the downtown Rehabilitation/Renovation project which is scheduled to begin in February of 2008. The plans are to convert the upper floors of business buildings on Garnett Street into one and two bedroom apartments. The apartments will range from $400 to $700 per month, providing affordable housing for low to middle income residents. There will be a total of 11 one bedroom and 22 two bedroom units completed by October of 2009.
Committee Chair Garry Daeke opened the Certificate of Occupancy discussion, which led to the question as to whether or not it was necessary to have a CO to ensure that minimum housing standards are met for the safety, health and well-being of the tenants.
Erris Dunston, Planning & Community Director, stated that a CO is a necessary tool to determine whether properties are in compliance.
It has not yet been decided if the issued rental permit will be valid for a period of two or five years. Dunston stated that once a property has passed inspection, the permit would be valid until expiration unless there have been complaints from tenants.
The general consensus was that a permit term should be three or four years.
Committee member Mary Emma Evens asked how tenants were supposed to know how and with whom to register complaints. It was suggested that a notice of procedure be included in water bills. The idea will be further explored.
The Certificate of Occupancy is scheduled for vote at the September 10 City Council meeting.