Encouraging Growth Through Housing Options and Affordability

Posted by: Roxanne Carr

Strathcona County has struck an excellent balance for our community but there is still more work to be done.  We have respected the wishes of our residents to protect the character of our mature neighbourhoods while preventing sprawl by working with developers and investors to produce innovative solutions to higher density developments in our newer areas. 

The success of any community is the provision of a diverse spectrum of housing with options for all stages of life, whether you are single, starting a new family, in the prime of your career or looking for a place to relax and retire. 

Last term, I created the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Housing to bring key stakeholders to the table, including the housing industry, to identify the local challenges and work with the experts to determine how, as a community, we could foster the creation of community and affordable housing.

Strathcona County is fortunate to have a strong industrial and commercial tax base. Because of this, we have less pressure than other municipalities to look towards the development industry for more money to fund additional community amenities through levies. We have long and short term strategic plans, such as Urban and Rural Road Master Plans, in place that maintain our existing infrastructure to community standards and always are looking for innovations in design to keep our community desirable and safe.

Our new development areas like Cambrian and Bremner will meet or exceed regional density targets.  In the case of Bremner, we are able to start the design without inheriting existing infrastructure or outdated community design.  The result can be the most efficient and complete community based on local, national and global experience.  It could also be an example for the region on how to best minimize the footprint in a community, incorporate innovative design and provide the best value for taxpayers.

While Strathcona County housing prices are a little higher than our neighbours our homes have maintained their value through changes in the economy, protecting homeowners’ investment for the long term.  In addition, residents pay significantly lower personal property taxes than other communities in the region.

Under my leadership we had the lowest tax increases on average this term by implementing a new budget system and increased efficiencies. In fact, last year we had a 2.62 percent reduction in municipal taxes.  This saved taxpayers $9 million last year alone – on average more than $90/man, woman & child through our use of a Priority-Based Budgeting system.

Next term we will apply our very successful priority-based budgeting practices to our capital budgeting. We’re going to hold the line on taxes - keep more money in your pockets

I stand on my record of accountable financial leadership and commitment to balanced growth.