City Working With Community Partners On Off-Campus Housing Issues

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First Avenue near Woodlawn, part of which is pictured here, has been a  high density student housing area over the years. (Photoby Joe Barkovich)

WELLAND – The City of Welland and its Town and Gown Committee are working together to review current programs and by-laws regarding off-campus student housing. The committee—comprised of representatives from City Council, city staff, Niagara College, Niagara College’s Student Administrative Council, Niagara Region, Niagara Regional Police Services (NRPS), and local residents—is a forum for dialogue to assist in developing and enhancing community relationships. The committee values communications and is taking a collaborative approach to creating new policies and ensuring harmony in Welland’s college-friendly neighbourhoods.

Niagara College educates over 10,000 full-time students within three campuses.  With the college’s main campus located in Welland, many neighbourhoods around the campus are dense with student housing. To better integrate and monitor student housing in Welland neighbourhoods, and further address resident concerns, the City of Welland has taken the following actions:

  • City staff are monitoring residential areas with student housing more frequently, and are enforcing city by-laws for infractions pertaining to noise, parking, and property standards.
  • The By-law Enforcement Division received 37 complaints in 2016 regarding refuse/ garbage within the 6 block area, all of which have been addressed and closed.
  • 49% of all parking infractions issued last year in the City of Welland were issued within a 6 block area surrounding the college. This area is bordered by Quaker Road, Clare Avenue, Thorold Road and Niagara Street.
  • The city’s Town and Gown Committee has recently formed a Housing Sub-committee. Part of the committee’s mandate is to review best practices and identify improvements that could be made to improve the relationship between student houses and existing neighbourhoods, and provide recommendations to the Town and Gown Committee.
  • The city is currently working on a new Comprehensive Zoning By-law. Recommendations from the Town and Gown Committee and the Housing Sub-committee on ways to better regulate rental housing will be considered for inclusion in the final document.
  • The city’s sign by-law has been amended to better regulate property management signs and reduce sign pollution.

Councillor Mark Carl, chair of the Town and Gown Committee says the committee intends to improve the quality of life in student-dense neighbourhoods and maintain positive relationships with all stakeholders.

“City of Welland Council, staff, and the Town and Gown Committee are committed to working with local residents, the community, and landlords to address any concerns within Welland’s student-friendly neighbourhoods,” said Carl. “We’re grateful and proud that Niagara College is a part of this amazing city.”

Ali Khan, the City’s Supervisor of Traffic, Parking and By-laws says the city relies on residents to be the department’s “eyes and ears” and letting staff know when a property has some deficiencies.

“We welcome open communication from residents and their concerns pertaining to student compliance,” said Khan.

“Niagara College has undertaken a number of initiatives over the years to enhance strategies that promote positive relations with our neighbours,” said Susan McConnell, college spokesperson. “We look forward to continuing our participation on the committee and working collaboratively with our partners.”

For more information on the city’s property standards, parking by-laws, or to view the Town and Gown Committee’s Good Neighbour Guide, please visit welland.ca.

(Source: City of Welland news release)

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