St. Albert needs to re-think affordable housing

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So many ulterior motives. What happened to Habitat for Humanity being community helping community, not a corporation of CEO’s, bankers, builders and mortgage brokers?

What happened to a city council that supposedly wants green development in St. Albert, considering a totally offensive developed project right on top of the start to the city bike trails out of Akinsdale? What happened to honest statistics about the crime issues and living conditions in Akinsdale Gardens (Arlington’s other low income housing)? What happened to a school board’s promise of building a school in a community much in need (how about a green school)? What happened to developers being accountable for restrictions or for supposedly accidentally destroying green borders of Akinsdale? What happened to the truth that most citizens of St. Albert do not want lower income developments as they exist in their neighbourhoods?

I live in Akinsdale and do not want this type of development in my neighbourhood. I am very hard working middle-class by standards. I do expect St. Albert to remain safe, clean and environmentally conscious — that’s why I moved into the community 20 years ago.

I have worked in highly lower-income populated areas of Edmonton, definitely not what I want areas of St. Albert to become. I have witnessed the change in neighbourhoods of northeast Edmonton where condensed housing has recently been added. The effects on the neighbourhood have been very negative to say the least. I expect because northeast Edmonton is only a stone’s throw away from St. Albert, Akinsdale can be seen as a primary target for those wanting to make a quick dollar at the community’s expense.

I enjoy being able to come home to St. Albert as a unique community to be proud of but not because I feel any sense of entitlement.

Council needs to be very innovative with planning the future of St. Albert or they will in no time at all not have a unique community to plan for or call their own.

I suggest converting schools to green schools where able. I suggest small affordable housing developments that fit all communities, perhaps surrounding gardens not garbage bins. I suggest first cleaning up current low-income housing areas to prove St. Albert can create safe affordable housing that residents can be proud of. I suggest Habitat for Humanity help people who live in nearly uninhabitable conditions within St. Albert already — make improvements to their environments. I suggest everyone in St. Albert be honest that they would not like the type of development suggested in Akinsdale to be in their neighbourhoods. I suggest to all those who live all over the world that have contributed to the so-called Habitat for Humanity project in Akinsdale — look at helping where it would really count in each of your own communities and perhaps we can dream of the current mess in low-income housing becoming history everywhere. Just my honest opinion.

Shelley Biermanski, St. Albert

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