Final vote on Oshawa housing bylaw tonight

Students announce a boycott of the city council and express a desire to leave Oshawa.

Oshawa City Council is holding a special meeting tonight where they are expected to pass a controversial bylaw targeting student housing. The bylaw is the result of a rough year of town-and-gown conflicts that culminated in police raids on student houses in the fall.

The new proposed bylaw would limit the number of bedrooms within rental houses in the area surrounding the university to four, regardless of the size of the house. Landlords will have to pay a $250 per bedroom annual licensing fee and carry increased insurance.

The issue has drawn much attention, even reaching the pages The Globe and Mail this weekend. A few local newspapers in Ontario mentioned on February 11 that, if passed, the Oshawa bylaw would likely be copied by other municipalities in the province.

The Students Association at UOIT/Durham announced today they planned to boycott of the council meeting. After making repeated submissions to the city government and seeing them ignored, the student president has had enough: “No longer are we going to attempt to present an opinion that is clearly overlooked and blatantly ignored,” says Fraser McArthur.

“It is far more appropriate for me, as a student representative, to encourage students to stay in their classes and finish their quality education at our schools, and eventually pursue a career in a different city that wants them,” he said.

Many students have expressed to Maclean’s a wish that Ontario’s newest university had been located elsewhere. They feel they are getting a good on-campus experience, but that young people are not welcome in Oshawa.

For more information, check out our earlier coverage of this issue:

Students versus the world, Sept. 20, 2007
Police raid student houses in Oshawa, Oct. 31, 2007
Oshawa may charge student-area landlords up to $1000 annual fee, Jan. 4, 2008
Oshawa Council backs down on controversial housing bylaw, Jan. 16, 2008
Oshawa moves closer to removing students near university, Jan. 23, 2007