Province cancels 31-unit family housing complex for Summerside for now, cites 'lack of bids/interest'

This picture shows the former Summerset Manor building — which was demolished in 2018.  (Randy McAndrew/CBC - image credit)
This picture shows the former Summerset Manor building — which was demolished in 2018. (Randy McAndrew/CBC - image credit)

Plans to create a 31-unit housing complex at the former Summerset Manor site in Summerside, P.E.I., have been put on hold by the province.

The P.E.I. government made an addendum to the public tender informing people that the housing complex was "cancelled due to lack of bids/interest at this time.

"The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and the P.E.I. Housing Corporation will assess industry capacity to best determine an appropriate time to re-post the tender," said a spokesperson from the province told CBC News.

Ideas for what to do with the former Summerset Manor space have been floated around for years. The lot, located on the corner of LeFurgey Avenue and Granville Street, has been vacant since 2012. The former Summerset Manor building that was on site was demolished in 2018.

'It's very disappointing'

Barb Ramsay, councillor for Summerside-North, said it's disheartening the project couldn't come to light by now. Her ward runs along LeFurgey Avenue and she said housing is a pressing need in the city.

"I get calls daily for people looking for homes, so I'm always working with them trying to find them a place to live so it's very disappointing," she said. "I'm hoping that [the province] comes up with something really soon."

Kirk Pennell/CBC
Kirk Pennell/CBC

Despite the 31-unit project not going ahead for the time being, Ramsay said she's talked with Housing Minister Matt MacKay frequently about housing needs in Summerside.

"If you're not getting any bidders on the tenders, it's almost impossible," she said.

The city, Ramsay said, is pushing for as much housing development as it can.

"We don't refuse too many developments, there's got to be a darn good reason for housing not to be going up in Summerside," she said. "It's really really busy right now."

The province did not say why there was little interest from contractors on the project — although, the tender was extended several times. The latest addendum shows the Construction Association of P.E.I. confirming that "no general contractors have registered nor have subcontractors provided bids to the bid depository" as of last week.