News — 21 September 2011

Chair of the Dryden Municipal Non-Profit Housing Corporation (DMNPHC), Peter Keen made a presentation to mayor and council at the September 19 Regular Council meeting regarding the state of capital funds for the corporation.

Keen says the corporation is in a better position than many in the province, but will have their capital funds depleted within four years at the current level of provincial funding.

The group is forecasting a request to Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) for approximately $194,000 by the year 2012. KDSB has two potential sources to cover these costs which is the province and the municipal taxpayers.

In Ontario, non-profit housing corporations are responsible for capital repairs, such as new roofs, windows and flooring, out of their capital reserve funds. Keen says provincial government funding for non-profit housing capital expenditures is significantly inadequate.

As the corporation is legally obliged to provide safe housing for tenants, Keen presented the current status and projected outcome to council, requesting that mayor and council lobby the government on their behalf.

City council has access to organizations such as NOMA (Northern Ontario Municipal Association) who meet regularly with provincial ministers within the government.

“Declining capital reserves is a national problem. The purpose of this report is to make Dryden’s city council aware of the issue,” said Keen. “The corporation hopes council will raise this with other municipalities in the region, with the goal of making a joint delegation to the province. I will provide what ever assistance I can in this process.”

The province does provide annual capital expenditure funding of approximately $50,000 to the corporation. In a report for the Social Housing Services Corporation in 2006, it was reported that non-profit housing providers should spend an average of $750 annually on each rental unit.

Keen says the $50,000 contribution would be adequate at these estimates, but notes the numbers are based on newer rental units. The units within the city of Dryden were all built between 1987 and 1991. Keen says that an estimate of $1,225 per unit would be a more reasonable amount, due to the higher costs of capital maintenance to aging facilities.

“The corporation isn’t in a position to fundraise. While it might be possible to defer some projects, this isn’t advisable as we are legally obliged to proved safe housing for our tenants. Deferring capital expenses would lead to more expensive future repairs,” said Keen. “At this point, the only realistic option is to continue spending the capital reserve, and make funding applications to KDSB once the corporation runs out of money. As the corporation is legally obliged to proved safe housing, it is hoped such funding applications will be granted.”

By Ally Dunham

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Chris Marchand is a native of Dryden, Ontario. He served his first newspaper internship at The Dryden Observer in 1998 while attending journalism studies at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops B.C. He's worked desks as both reporter and editor at the Fernie Free Press as well as filled the role of sports editor at the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. Marchand was named editor of the Dryden Observer in Aug. 2009.

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