Housing: gov’t proposes 40-unit complex in partnership with a private firm

Councillors skeptical: need more info

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Slave Lake’s long-delayed affordable housing project may finally be inching toward the finish line. Or rather the starting line, after local officials met recently with the responsible minister.

Town council learned the latest at its June 8 meeting, in an unusually newsy report from Slave Lake Regional Housing Authority chair Julie Brandle.

Brandle’s biggest item was that she and others had met with the Seniors and Housing minister Josephine Pon. What they learned is that the province has some sort of deal with a private company to turn the provincial $4.7 million allocation into a 40-unit complex. Twenty of the units will be available under the RGI (rent geared to income) format. The other 20 at what the government calls ‘market,’ but which Brandle said is actually 10 per cent below the real estate definition of market rates.

“We’re not really thrilled,” Brandle said, given that it appears the latter units would interfere with what the private rental market has available – something the housing authority wants to avoid. There are lots of other details to be figured out, Brandle said, and further meetings are needed.

Commenting on the situation, mayor Tyler Warman sounded a tad skeptical.

“They had one proposal,” he said, “and this group doesn’t have experience.”

Brandle: “Lots of questions to be answered.”

Warman: Who’s going to monitor that the things the grant was intended to accomplish actually get accomplished over 20 years?

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