PORT AUX BASQUES — On Oct. 13, 2021, the affordable housing development began clearing the location atop Army Hill. Concrete and rebar that had remained since the Bruce Arena burned down was ripped up in preparation for the construction. The project has been developed as a response to the provincial housing crisis.
Overseen by non-profit group Gateway Village Corporation, the rental units will be available to seniors and those living with a disability whose annual income doesn’t exceed $32,500. The units have received funding through numerous sources, including the Town of Channel-Port Aux Basques, the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC), and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
Town Manager Leon MacIsaac, said there will be eight units.
“There will be two blocks with four units on each block. Two of those units will be fully accessible to persons living with disabilities and the remainder of the units won’t have the full requirements of a fully accessible unit, but if anybody has a disability they will be able to go through all of the units without any encumbrances.”
MacIsaac said anyone who fits the criteria would be eligible for residence in one of the units, but there is already a significant demand.
“We have received a large number of applications already. Prior to getting the units completed, we will go back through to see if the people who applied are still interested. Then, of course, they have to meet the traditional requirements set by the NLHC in order to qualify for the housing as well.”
No one has currently been accepted or approved for a unit. That process will take place during the selection process.
“When it was first announced, of course, it was a number of years ago. Whether or not those people are still interested, and whether or not they meet the criteria, they have to meet that criteria to be able to be accepted to the units, and that is going to be a selective process that is going to take some time,” confirmed MacIsaac.
The units will help address a need that has existed within the region for years.
“On the Southwest Coast, a project of this nature hadn’t been undertaken previously, and it was identified as a need for the area — to have fully accessible housing for persons that were restricted with mobility issues. There are a lot of apartments in the area, but unfortunately not all of them are accessible to persons with disabilities and that was the reason for moving forward. The Gateway Village Corporation is a charitable organization, and they took it on because there wasn’t a proponent locally that were taking it on at the time,” said MacIsaac.
The project itself has been in the works since 2018, but it seems the end is finally within sight.
“Like with any project, there is a start and an end date, and these units are expected to be completed in March of 2023 barring any unforeseen circumstances,” said MacIsaac.
Jaymie White, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wreckhouse Weekly News