Energy-efficient affordable housing eyed for Blacks Harbour

An affordable housing project in Blacks Harbour may break ground this year, and will be energy-efficient thanks to some federal cash.

The two-building, 24-unit housing development was first announced in 2021, and will be built on land previously donated by the Village of Blacks Harbour.

Earlier this week, the federal government and Federation of Canadian Municipalities announced $25,000 in grant funding for Project:Village Housing, to go toward energy efficiency measures in the apartment buildings.

Mat Rouleau, director of development for Project:Village Housing, said the cash will go toward researching the particulars of how the apartments will be built, with energy efficiency in mind.

“With apartments, it’s still fairly new to do high-performance buildings,” he said. “It takes additional time and costs.”

Energy efficiency addresses the amount of energy required to heat or cool a building, and also impacts how much residents will pay in utility bills.

“We can do both, is the goal,” he said.

The 24-unit project is slated to have 12 affordable units and 12 units rented out at market rates.

Rouleau said the project is currently in the design phase, with architects and engineers working on the building’s plans.

The non-profit is aiming to break ground on the affordable housing project this year, dependent on when funding is acquired from provincial and federal governments.

The housing project initially began under Project:Village, an ambitious three-pronged community revitalization project by Eastern Charlotte Waterways, an environmental non-profit, focusing on transportation, housing and food security.

But now, Project:Village Housing is a standalone non-profit focused solely on housing, Rouleau explained.

According to a press release from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, several other housing projects in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia also received funding for climate-conscious projects, with the goal of meeting Canada’s 2030 climate target and achieving a net-zero economy by 2050.

Bath Non-Profit Housing Inc. in Bath was granted $20,000 to assess the feasibility of converting an existing abandoned hospital into 20 to 25 affordable apartments with community space.

Additionally, Belleterre Community Partners Inc. and the City of Miramichi, New Brunswick, received $22,400 to assess the energy efficiency of a 12-unit residential development for new Canadians, seniors, youth, women escaping domestic violence, and those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

In Nova Scotia, the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia and Halifax Regional Municipality will receive just under $145,000 for energy-efficient measures in 44 affordable housing units in Dartmouth.

“By building energy-efficient low-carbon housing infrastructure today, we are helping our fight against climate change while creating good, well paying jobs and saving consumers money. We congratulate the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and all of the local partners for their role in these critical developments,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, in a press release.

Marlo Glass, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal