Housing project to cost $300,000
By Chad Ingram
An affordable housing project near Minden’s Stouffer Street will likely cost Minden Hills township $300,000.
Back in February, councillors voted to donate the land for a single-storey, 12-unit facility near the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena, as well as waive some $30,000 in planning, processing and building fees and permits.
The building is a project of the Kawartha Lakes Haliburton Housing Corporation, which is using $1 million in funds from the feds and province through the Investment for Affordable Housing in Ontario Program.
But as Minden Hills councillors heard during an Oct. 8 meeting, the project is going to cost the township a lot more than the donation of land and some waived fees.
As planner Chris Jones of Municipal Planning Services Ltd. explained to council, there have been some changes to the project.
Construction of the single-storey, mixed residential building would still proceed, but in a different building envelope than first identified.
It would also be phase one of what the housing corporation is now planning as a two-phase project, the second phase being a multi-storey residential building of up to 22 units.
The project would require about 1.5 acres of land.
“The revisions came about through various technical considerations,” Jones told councillors, explaining these include accessibility.
While the original plan had access from Stouffer Street, the new one has access from Parkside Street, near the arena.
The road construction around the arena parking lot would cost an estimated $70,000.
The new building envelope would also require the removal and relocation of the township’s skateboard park and works shed near the arena parking lot, as well as the realignment of a snowmobile/hiking trail that runs through the property.
It’s estimated that work would cost about $200,000.
Since the township has traditionally piled snow in the area, the project would also mean an increase in its annual roads budget, since that snow would have to be transported to the township pit on Bobcaygeon Road instead.
It’s estimated the additional cost for snow haulage would be about $45,000 a year.
Despite the financial hit to the township, Reeve Brent Devolin was adamant council push ahead with the project.
“We haven’t built any of this type of development in this community since the late ’80s,” Devolin said.
“We significantly need this. We need to think about the long-term benefit to the community with this stuff.”
The reeve admitted this would mean realigning spending priorities in coming years and perhaps putting other projects on hold.
Devolin, who sits on the housing board, said the housing corporation would turn its attention, and funding, elsewhere if the township was not willing to accommodate the expenses.
“This goes off the table as of Dec. 31 of this year,” he said, imploring councillors to digest the “sticker shock” of the project.
Councillors agreed, voting to spend up to $300,000 to make way for the project.
The housing corporation is planning to begin construction on the single-storey, 12-unit building next year, with occupancy scheduled for 2017.