Affordable housing concept received endorsement of councillors

A concept to construct 24 affordable housing units on a single site in an undeveloped area of town was endorsed

A concept to construct 24 affordable housing units on a single site in an undeveloped area of town was endorsed by town councillors during their meeting Monday night.

Sylvan Community Housing Society has signed an option to purchase 1.08 acres from Falcon Homes, in a new high density area of Ryders Ridge, chairman Frank Peck told councillors.

“What we’re asking is would you support a 24 unit complex that meets the building guidelines of Sylvan Lake and addresses the needs of affordable housing,” said Peck.

The society’s plan is to build two 12-unit two-storey buildings. One would be meet requirements for seniors and AISH applicants. The other would be for families that need assistance through affordable housing.

Because they felt their application needs to stand out above others competing for provincial funding, the society has hired a consultant who’s skilled in putting together proposals and applications. One of the pieces of the proposal is letters of support from adjacent municipalities.

“We have a letter from everyone else except Sylvan,” Peck said, indicating it’s the last piece of the proposal.

He explained the proposal will then go to Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation for review so they can obtain further funding to advance the project.

“I agree we need to support this,” said Councillor Ken MacVicar. “It sounds like it’s going to be a pre-approval package. It’s not going to the provincial government, I don’t see a problem with this.”

“Can this letter be construed as approval of the project?” asked Councillor Rick Grimson, remembering past issues with affordable housing proposals.

Peck answered the location is in the middle of a high density area that’s yet to be developed. “The problems before have been because of infills. This is brand new.” He speculated their building may be the first in the development.

“I concur with Frank, for years we’ve talked about getting developers on board for social housing. If we can get them on board it’s a win for the community.”

Betty Osmond, the town’s chief administrative officer, said there wouldn’t be anything in the letter “that would appear to prejudge” approval of the project, but they could approve the concept.

Councillors then voted unanimously to instruct staff to draft the letter for the mayor’s signature.

Peck added his group has been working with Tim Schmidt, the town’s director of planning and development, to ensure what’s proposed meets the guidelines of the town.