With more affordable housing needed across Niagara, City Council is working with staff to address affordable housing shortages in Port Colborne. Announced in December 2020, the City determined Chestnut Park, located between Lock Street and Clarke Street, could be repurposed and redeveloped for a broader community benefit. Working closely with Port Cares, the City continues to explore funding options, innovative approaches, and strategic partnerships to address affordable housing shortages and wait lists. 

 Chestnut Park Frequently Asked Questions 
 Affordable Housing Project
  • On December 14, 2020 Port Colborne City Council approved the City donating Chestnut Park to Port Cares for the purpose of building affordable housing units for the community.
  • Port Cares will acquire the Chestnut Park property from the City for $1 to construct a multi-unit, low rise affordable housing structure with approximately 30 to 40 one and two-bedroom units.
  • The intent is to create affordable housing for independent seniors who are over the age of 55, current Port Colborne residents, and making less than $35,000 a year; and/or single families with children, currently living in Port Colborne, and make less than $35,000 a year.  
  • The affordable housing units will be available to Port Colborne residents only, as per Port Cares' mandate.
  • Parking will be available for tenants based on City Zoning By-law provisions. At a minimum, there will be one parking spot per every three dwelling units.
  • This is a multi-year project, with Port Cares currently completely the first phase of the building analysis over three to four months.
  • The City of Port Colborne and Port Cares will actively engage with the community, including facilitating consultation sessions, which is anticipated to start August 2021.

Chestnut Park Relocation

  • The playground equipment at Chestnut Park will be relocated.
  • As Port Cares moves forward with their necessary due diligence and planning process, Chestnut Park will remain as is until both Port Cares and the City are ready to proceed with construction. This process could take up to 12 months.
  • The goal, which is supported by the City’s 2020 Parks and Recreation Master Plan, is to create premier parks by investing in new amenities to make them more modern, enjoyable, and accessible for residents and visitors.
  • City staff will seek public consultation from residents to better understand the needs within the community. City staff will bring a report to Council in March 2021 outlining the details of a community engagement plan to obtain input regarding the redevelopment of nearby Lockview Park.
  • The 2021 budget has already been approved, with reserve funds set aside for potential infrastructure improvements to Lockview Park based on Council’s approval.

Affordable Housing & Homelessness in Port Colborne

  • One in four residents are at risk of homelessness because they are spending 30 per cent of their net income on housing.
  • Of the one and four at risk of homelessness, 50 per cent are over the age of 55.
  • Seniors are at a higher risk of experiencing homelessness due to marital or relationship separation, illness, cost of medications and job loss.
  • According to Niagara Regional Housing (2019), the average wait time for individuals seeking social housing in Port Colborne is as follows:
    • Seniors aged 55 and older looking for a one-bedroom unit: five years
    • Singles aged 16 – 54 looking for a one-bedroom unit: 11 years
    • Households with dependents looking for a two or three-bedroom unit: four years
    • City Council recognizes the situation is serious and is committed to working with local partners like Port Cares to find solutions to build economic and social sustainability in the community; everyone deserves a safe place to call home.

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 Chestnut Park Media Releases, Public Notices & Articles 

February 23, 2021 - Port Colborne and Port Cares to sign Affordable Housing Development MOU

February 17, 2021 - Affordable housing a top priority as one in four residents at risk of homelessness

December 16, 2020 - City partners with Port Cares to create more affordable housing

Partnering In Affordability: Port Colborne To Convey Chestnut Park For Affordable Housing Project (written by Marc Mitanis; posted with permission of the publisher, NRU Publishing Inc.; Original article first appeared in Novae Res Urbis – GTHA, Vol. 24, No. 12, Wednesday, March 24, 2021)

Question & Answers Report 

A public meeting was held on February 15, 2021 regarding the proposed rezoning of Chestnut Park. Residents had an opportunity to ask questions and express their opinions. Below is the Questions & Answers Report generated from that meeting. 

Chestnut Park – Port Cares Affordable Housing Q&A Report

 Lockview Park 
  • Lockview Park is located approximately 0.5 km adjacent to Chestnut Park.