Colleen Cameron

ANTIGONISH: Another affordable lodging venture in Antigonish is one bit nearer to turning into a reality.

Councillors in Antigonish County collectively voted to sell a package of land on Appleseed Dr. to individuals from the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society (AAHS) for $1 during a special meeting Aug. 31.

Individuals from the society are planning a four-building, 12-unit development opposite Antigonish Education Center and Saint Andrew Junior School; one, two and three-room condos will be accessible, with four boundary free units for occupants with mobility issues.

Currently in Antigonish, there are 14 affordable housing units.

Following the meeting, Warden Owen McCarron, said the land has been evaluated at $34,000, and in the past few years they’ve been offered as much as $65,000 for it, yet councillors felt AAHS representatives have concocted an advantageous undertaking.

“They’ve done a tremendous job, giving great opportunities for folks that need better housing,” he said. “We just felt it was the right thing to do, and it was the right time to do it.”

McCarron indicated officials with the municipality are additionally contributing $100,000 toward the task, which is expected to come with a $3 million price tag, notwithstanding the land.

He suggested the affordable housing project will provide numerous benefits.

“When people have good housing, their quality of life increases on a number of fronts – from health to education – and it’s a sense of community.”

The Chair of the AAHS, Colleen Cameron says her society is very pleased with the donation of a parcel of land on Appleseed Drive to the organization for its latest endeavour.

Cameron explained representatives with AAHS couldn’t be happier with council’s decision to unload the land to them for only $1.

“Our latest project will see 12 additional, affordable units being built right here in the Town of Antigonish to help secure a home over someone’s head,” she said. “Currently there are 14 affordable housing units in town but the need is still here for more and we will do everything we can to continue fighting this fight.”

Cameron explained this was a prime location for their new development, as Appleseed Drive is adjacent to both Antigonish Education Centre and Saint Andrews Junior School and is within walking distance of Dr. John Hugh Gillis High School and StFX University.

A significant portion of the funding has already been secured for the four-building, 12-unit development, which will feature a combination of one, two, and three-room condos; four of which will be 100 per cent barrier-free for occupants with mobility issues.

“Of course our two municipal governments, the town and the county were right out there in the forefront before anyone else,” Cameron highlighted. “Other than the Sisters of St. Martha’s, who [have been] the first big supporter of us.”

The Antigonish Community Energy Co-Op is another local group that has shown interest in the society’s latest project.

The society looked for and secured funding through the National Housing Strategy, with federal funding coming through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; AAHS has also received significant funding through Housing Nova Scotia for this upcoming venture.

The development’s tenders closes on Sept. 10, in which AAHS hopes to officially break ground in October, however Cameron advised a start date for construction has yet to be determined.