Construction finally underway on new affordable housing complex in Charlottetown

After proposal to build in industrial area met resistance at city hall, new Kings Square Affordable Housing development breaks ground in Hillsborough Park.

60-unit development finds home near École François-Buote

A spokesperson for the P.E.I. Department of Social Development and Housing said an official announcement regarding the housing project would be made in the coming weeks. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)

Construction has begun on a new affordable housing complex in Charlottetown's Hillsborough Park area, near the city's French-language school École François-Buote.

The complex will include a total of 60 units — 50 affordable units and 10 charging market-rate rents.

The development had originally been proposed by the Kings Square Affordable Housing Corporation for an industrial area on Sherwood Road, with construction to have begun a year ago. But a request to rezone that area led to a deferral from city hall over concerns about truck traffic and the suitability of the area for residential development.

APM Construction president Tim Banks said his company was awarded the contract to manage construction of the project, and began site preparation the week of May 27.

"There's certainly a demand for affordable, income-based housing," said Banks, adding that the impact of this and other projects in the works would be "huge" when it comes to housing availability in the area.

Bill Campbell, president of Kings Square Affordable Housing, said he couldn't comment on the project pending final approval from government. A spokesperson for the provincial Department of Social Development and Housing said a formal announcement would be made in the coming weeks.

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Ground was finally broken this week on a new 60-unit affordable housing complex being built near École François-Buote in Charlottetown. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)

The city approved a development permit for the site at 10 Acadian Drive on May 13. 

The cost of the development is estimated at over $10 million.

After city council balked last July at allowing the development to proceed in an industrial area, councillors said they would work with the province to come up with a list of alternate sites for the project.

Banks said he would leave it to the various levels of government to describe how the new site for the project was determined.

He did offer praise for the work done by Kings Square Affordable Housing.

"Bill Campbell and his team have done a remarkable job of working with people and getting them housed. They've got a great track record here [in the] Charlottetown marketplace," said Banks. "We're pleased to have been able to work with them."

Charlottetown had a record low vacancy rate in 2018.

In November the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported the apartment vacancy rate for Charlottetown dropped to 0.2 per cent, down from 0.9 per cent the year before.

Banks said the first occupants of the new complex should be able to move in July 1, 2020.

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