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Affordable housing moves forward

If all goes according to plan, construction on the new affordable senior housing complex will begin in Port aux Basques as early as this fall. – Pixabay

By RYAN KING

PORT AUX BASQUES – Like many parts of the province and the country, Port aux Basques is facing a housing crisis when it comes to affordable housing, and given strict municipal budgets, seniors are the demographic most likely to bear the brunt. The town’s affordable seniors housing project has been in the works since 2018, but recent developments have provided hope that construction can soon begin.

The affordable housing project is being spearheaded by the Gateway Village Corporation and was announced by the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC). It will also meet rent control requirements as set by the NLHC and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“The project has been in development since NLHC announced in early 2018 of an affordable housing funding initiative to assist in the creation of affordable, appropriate rental housing projects for the benefit of as many low-income households as possible,” said Leon MacIsaac, Town Manager of Channel-Port aux Basques.

Gateway Village will be setting income caps to ensure that the housing project will benefit those who need it the most.

“The units rented through the non-profit sector initiative must be rented to households with a maximum income limit of $32,500.00. Gateway Village corporation, a non-profit, charitable organization, realized the need for secure, affordable and fully accessible housing for seniors and other vulnerable sectors,” explained MacIsaac.

The project will be a boon to seniors struggling in the community and around the Southwest coast.

“This will be one of the first projects on the Southwest coast that will provide this type of housing, with rent controls in place for 25 years as required by NLHC and CMHC. The corporation is not aware of any other similar projects in the area that would provide fully accessible and visitable housing for persons with disabilities,” stated MacIsaac. “The Gateway project was created to fill a housing void that does not currently exist in the region.”

Residents may have noticed delays in getting the project underway since it was first announced in 2018. These were unavoidable for a variety of reasons, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The project has taken significant time to prepare due to the required documentation for Environmental Assessments, Geological Testing, drawing completion, energy efficiency and accessibility reviews, confirmation of funding, project requirements and of course delays related to COVID-19,” said MacIsaac.

Though there may have been hoops to jump through, it looks like patience and persistence are about to finally pay off. There are still some requirements to be met, but construction might begin as early as the fall of this year.

Said MacIsaac, “While the corporation has cleared a number of hurdles throughout the process there are still a number of regulatory requirements to be completed. Hopefully that portion of the project can be resolved in the near future, so that groundwork can begin this fall with building construction starting in early 2022. The consultants, contractors, board members and prospective tenants for this project have been patient until the necessary approvals have been received.”

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