Lacombe council wants more time to line up affordable housing plans

Lacombe city council will ask the province for more time to allocate provincial funding for three planned affordable housing projects. The three projects were sidelined when Lacombe decided not to proceed with a land development program called ReHDI. The provincial government previously approved three separate housing plans through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) for the city since 2007 that were to be used for affordable housing.

Lacombe city council will ask the province for more time to allocate provincial funding for three planned affordable housing projects.

The three projects were sidelined when Lacombe decided not to proceed with a land development program called ReHDI.

The provincial government previously approved three separate housing plans through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) for the city since 2007 that were to be used for affordable housing.

The city received $454,719 in 2007 for the construction for a three to four unit housing complex. In 2008, the city developed the Affordable Housing Plan, which covered funding under the program.

The same year the city received $315,703 in MSI funding to go towards the Secondary Suites Initiative ,which offered support to community members looking to upgrade existing suites or develop new ones.

The third project, in 2009, was for $155,924 to be put towards the construction of a two unit housing complex.

All three cases did not get far into the planning stages because the city cancelled ReHDI. That prevented housing plans for 2007 and 2009 from occurring.

The 2008 secondary suite initiative resulted in one applicant receiving $7,000.

The city has not developed an official housing plan indicating current and future needs for the community.

This spurred the conversation that the city needs a plan to adequately guide its housing initiatives.

City community service director, Brenda Vaughan said the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has written guidelines to support the development of a Community Housing Action Plan.

The service is of no cost to the city and would be available within weeks.

If council decided to go against having a plan done there was also the option of giving the MSI funding back to the government. The municipal contributions for the funding amounted to $286,150 while the total of the MSI contribution came to $927,848.

Councillors felt it would be better to go forward with a plan rather than give the money back.

City CAO Norma MacQuarrie said the city will send a letter requesting more time with the MSI funding and felt the province would not have a problem with that as long as there are steps taken for an action plan.

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