Vision Lands project in Moncton faces financial trouble

The Vision Lands project in Moncton has run into financial trouble.

Eco-friendly subdivision has stalled while developer fights off creditors, foreclosure

The Vision Lands project in Moncton has run into financial trouble.

The development was supposed to be a ground-breaking 260-acre sustainable neighbourhood next to the University of Moncton campus.

But only a handful of houses have been built and the developers have run into difficulty with their creditors,

One of the view homes built to date in Moncton's Vision Lands. (Marc Genuist / CBC)
The project was launched with the full support of the the city three years ago. It was supposed to be a combination of homes, seniors apartments and condominiums. The 600 housing units would all be in a forest setting of mature trees, trails and other ecological attractions.

However, to date only four homes appear to have been built.

One of the mortgage holders, Harbour Edge Developments, is threatening to foreclose on developers Paul Arsenault and Donna Ferguson.

A landscaping company has filed a lien on the subdivision for $237,000. A paving company has filed a lawsuit claiming it is owed $278,000.

Arsenault says he's not giving up on his dream of developing Vision Lands and is negotiating to keep his creditors at bay.

Chrissy Guitard lives in one of the energy efficient homes that has been built.

She says she's not worried about the financial problems of the developers.

Development in Moncton's Vision Lands has stalled. (Marc Genuist / CBC)
"This is a gem in the middle of the city that is not to be undeveloped," said Guitard. "It is gorgeous out here and especially with talks of the university expanding over the next couple of years, it would be crazy not to develop this."

Moncton has struggled to have the property developed for years.

It struck on the Vision Lands concept 11 years ago, but there were delays right from the start.

The first two developers backed out before Arsenault agreed to build the eco-friendly subdivision.

City council then argued over whether to give Arsenault $130,000 to pay one-third of the cost of building a road to connect the property to the city.

Then the University of Moncton refused to allow a sewer line to go through its property in order to connect the future sub-divisions to the city's system.

In the end, the road was built and the sewer line installed.

The city paid $1.4 million to install the sewer line. Alcide Richard of Moncton's engineering department says the city will recover those costs by charging developers in the area to hook up to the new sewer.