Nova Scotia

Halifax to use $1.8M from developer for affordable-housing fund

Halifax regional council agreed on Tuesday to accept $1.8 million from the developers of the Willow Tree Tower, in exchange for Armco Capital not including 20 affordable housing units in the building.

Armco Capital paying $1.8M to build a larger development at corner of Quinpool Road, Robie Street in Halifax

The developer of the Willow Tree Tower in Halifax had the option of getting extra building height in exchange for affordable housing units, cash or putting utility lines underground. (Submitted by Armco Capital)

Halifax regional council agreed on Tuesday to accept $1.8 million from the developers of the Willow Tree Tower, in exchange for Armco Capital not including 20 affordable housing units in the building.

The 25-storey building is being constructed at the corner of Quinpool Road and Robie Street in Halifax. The project is being done under a development agreement, rather than the new Centre Plan rules.

Under the agreement, the developer had the option of getting extra height in exchange for units, cash or putting utility lines underground.

Coun. Shawn Cleary said the cash offer is a good deal for the municipality.

"Under the new Centre Plan's density bonus formula, this development would actually only pay $841,000, so we're getting a million more," he said.

The money will be put into an affordable housing fund that will allow the municipality to provide grants to housing co-ops or affordable housing projects.

That is why Coun. Lindell Smith voted in favour of the cash offer.

'A perfect start for us'

"This is a perfect start for us when we look at that affordable housing fund," he said. "I believe this is a win for us."

But Coun. Tim Outhit still has doubts about an affordable housing fund.

"The vision on this should be having units in buildings, not ghettoization," said Outhit.

Coun. Waye Mason remains optimistic about the fund and pointed out the Armco tower money could be spent on a project just down the street.

"I would love to see this $1.8 million and any other money that may come from other Quinpool Road projects go into a site that we carve out of the St. Pat's High site," he said.

Only Outhit and Coun. Richard Zurawski voted against the deal.

About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.