Action Sandy Hill has identified the addressing continued proliferation unlicensed rooming houses as a top priority for next year. 2017 marks the county’s 150th anniversary and there will be a focus on the nation’s capital.
More than 50 concerned residents attended a full-house Presentation on Unlicensed Rooming Houses at the June 28th meeting of the Town & Gown Committee. Councillor Fleury, Planning Department head John Smit, City Bylaw, Solid Waste, University of Ottawa, SUFO and Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization representives were all in attendance.
At the question and answer period residents expressed concerns about the impact of these ‘bunkhouses’. Of particular concern is the safety of people living inside these former family homes now converted to small apartment buildings. These unlicensed rooming houses rent to individuals, are not inspected, and appear to benefit no one except their owners. There have been impacts on immediate neighbours, degradation of the characters of the neighbourhoods which are affected (for instance Sandy Hill a historic neighbourhood with 6 heritage conservation districts) plus an escalation of costs to the City of Ottawa, and a negative impact on its reputation.
ASH is asking for an Action Plan to deal with this problem, which has simply resumed at its previous pace after the expiry of the Interim Control Bylaw (conversion moratorium) put in place while new Infill rules were enacted. Suggestions appear in the slide presentation.
ASH has requested our councillor to set up a meeting with a variety of councillors and comminity associations which are affected by this sort of development, though nothing has been arranged to date. We will keep our membership posted of developments.