$3.5 million in government cash pave way for affordable housing projects

Four affordable housing projects will get the go-ahead in Red Deer after receiving $3.5 million worth of provincial and federal dollars.

Four affordable housing projects will get the go-ahead in Red Deer after receiving $3.5 million worth of provincial and federal dollars.

On Monday, Red Deer city council approved a 10-unit transitional housing complex for abused women and their children, a renovation of a five-bedroom home for families fleeing violence, and an affordable housing strategy for aboriginal and nonaboriginal families and individuals.

Council was guided by recommendations from the city’s Community Housing Advisory Board.

The largest amount of $1.8 million will go towards renovating 26 bachelor units on the second floor at the River Valley, formerly the Rancher’s Valley Inn. This is on top of $4.5 million approved in 2007 for 45 units, as part of an expansion project there.

Stan Schalk of Potter’s Hands Developments said they need to meet fire code requirements and the roof design needs to be altered.

He said the suites will help working poor, college students, seniors and generally those who need a break in their rents.

Council unanimously approved the first three projects, plus a City of Red Deer administration cost of just over $52,000 for allocating the project dollars.

A separate vote on the River Valley project was approved by eight members of council.

Councillor Gail Parks voted against the Potter’s Hands funding because she said originally the developers were looking at building 86 units at $4.5 million and now the project is $5.2 million with 71 units.

“This is a private developer accessing public funds,” Parks said.

The developer told council he has helped build 240 affordable housing units in the last 11 years and, with this project, another 71.

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