Nova Scotia

Habitat for Humanity's new Spryfield project will be largest in Canada

The organization plans to build townhouses and a four-storey building with a total of 78 units.

Development will create a total of 78 units in townhouses and a four-storey building

Habitat for Humanity plans to build its largest project in Canada in Spryfield. The development will include townhouses, apartments and condos. (Submitted by Habitat for Humanity)

Habitat for Humanity plans to build its largest project in Canadian history in the Spryfield area of Halifax, with a 78-unit development off Drysdale Road.

The Halifax and West community council approved the development agreement at a meeting on Tuesday.

Stephen Doane, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia, said although he'd like to start construction tomorrow, he expects shovels to hit the ground next spring.

"It's been two and a half years of getting ready to go and we're pretty excited that now we've got a chance to move forward and make it reality," he said.

Apartments, condos, townhouses

The project, dubbed Habitat Way, will include rows of townhouses as well as a four-storey, multi-unit building with condos and apartments.

Doane said having apartments available to rent is a first for Habitat's Nova Scotia chapter.

"We get 150 applications a year for homes. We can't accommodate everybody — we just can't build that many," he said. "Sometimes if there's a real dire need, we'll have the opportunity, if we're not full, to be able to house them until we can get them into a home."

The apartments will be rented for a cost that is no more than 30 per cent of the tenant's income.

Sweat equity

Habitat for Humanity projects are usually built by volunteers. Families apply to be placed in a home, and those who are selected receive a mortgage with no interest and no down payment. In exchange, they must volunteer for the organization for 500 hours on a construction project or in another capacity.

Doane said the four-storey building will be constructed by contractors rather than volunteers, but volunteers will be able to work on the finishing touches.

Steve Adams, the councillor for the area, called the development "truly affordable housing."

"This allows people to pay what they can afford. That makes sense," he said.

Doane said the project should be completed in six years, but some of the townhouses will likely be finished by next year.

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