Parish News

Church-led housing project gains momentum in Perth

David Kroetsch holds conceptual drawings of affordable housing building.
David Kroetsch of St. James the Apostle Church, Perth in front of the Perth Town Hall, with the conceptual drawings of the first three-unit affordable housing building. Photo: The Rev. Canon Ken Davis

Prominent members of the Perth community have come together to support the initiative of St James parish to create affordable housing in the town.

The parish established a steering committee for the project under the name, Caring Community Housing Initiative Perth (CCHIP).  The project won enthusiastic support when committee members met, first with the town’s planning advisory council and later with the full council.

“We are very encouraged,” the Rev. Canon Ken Davis says, as Mayor John Fenik and other councillors expressed support and said “we are going about it the right way.”

It helped that the committee was able to show concept drawings, funded by the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, for a three-unit building, adaptable to any type of lot the town might make available.

Perhaps more impressive, the steering committee includes some of the area’s best-known and respected citizens. The committee’s nine members include six representing the community-at-large and three from St James.

Brian Perkin, veteran broadcaster and former owner of The Lake 88.1 radio station has taken charge of communications and community liaison. He is a director of Perth and District Chamber of Commerce, supporter of the arts and popular coach of local hockey and soccer teams. 

“It’s very exciting that you have people on the ground trying to get something going,” Perkin says. “I’m happy to work with them.”  Affordable housing has been talked about for years, he adds, without much action.  

Steve Tennant and Donna Davidson bring their experience with Tayside Community Options, a not-for-profit dedicated to affordable housing and improving the lives of area residents.

Tennant is the 2021 recipient of The Perth Medal for his extensive volunteer work. Davidson is a former director of Lanark Community Programs. The organization has become part of ConnectWell and provides social services throughout the county.

Claire Smith, co-chair of CCHIP’s fundraising, is on the board of The Table Community Food Centre.  Formerly the Perth and District Food Bank, The Table is dedicated to providing wholesome food to those in need.

Peter McCracken, a longtime champion of affordable housing, is the owner of Sprucebridge Construction Inc. 

Linda Chaim chairs the social justice committee of the Perth Chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women’s Clubs.

Rounding out the CCHIP committee are David Kroetsh and Barry Curtis of the St James outreach committee and Canon Davis.

No decision on town land had been made as this is written. A gift of land would have a major impact on the scope of the project.  The current fundraising target of $750,000 provides for the purchase of land. 

The next step is construction of a website to serve as the central fundraising and information tool.


  • David Humphreys

    David Humphreys is a member of the diocesan Homelessness and Affordable Housing Working Group. A retired journalist and former Globe and Mail bureau chief, he is a regular contributor to Crosstalk.

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