First-time homebuyers project sidelined
A proposed first-time homebuyers’ development for Sackville has been stopped in its tracks.
Mayor Pat Estabrooks said council was recently advised that the developer had withdrawn his interest in the project and so the town had to make a decision whether or not to move forward on the initiative.
“The developer has decided not to continue with this project,” said Mayor Pat Estabrooks during council’s discussion meeting last week. “We’ve basically gone as far as we can as a town so we will not be pursuing this any further.”
This past Monday night, council put forward a motion during the regular monthly meeting to let the lead consultant Ged Stonehouse and the property owner know that the town will not be continuing with this project at this time.
“I’m happy to let the Stonehouse thing go because I didn’t feel it was going anywhere,” said Coun. Margaret Tusz-king.
She admitted she was disappointed, however, that the first-time homebuyers’ development didn’t go in the direction she had hoped and the town wasn’t able to make much headway on establishing an affordable housing model in the community.
“But I think there are other ways we can pursue this, other models to follow,” she said. Coun. Virgil Hammock agreed. “We still have a need for affordable housing here. I think maybe we just need a more ingenious way of moving forward with this,” said Hammock, suggesting the town might want to look at lower-cost, innovative projects.
Coun. Merrill Fullerton, who is a member of Sackville’s affordable housing committee, said he was also saddened to learn of the project’s demise.
“I do believe there’s a need for this type of housing for first-time homebuyers,” he said.
And he called on the private sector to begin working on more creative housing developments in the Sackville area to fill that gap.
Fullerton noted there are simply too many people who work in the area but reside outside the community because they can’t afford to purchase a home here.
The proposed housing project, which would have been situated on a 24-acre site next to Sackville’s nine-hole golf course off Fairfield Road, was expected to be developed in several phases.
More than 100 new homes were proposed for the site, featuring a mix of bungalows and townhouses for both families and seniors.
Tentatively called Fairfield Meadows, the subdivision was conceived as a project aimed at first-time homebuyers, an initiative that aimed to make it easier for people to purchase a new home in Sackville and as a way to expand the housing stock in the area.
Coun. John Higham pointed out these types of developments are not always encouraged by government bodies, who have their own way of subsidizing those who can’t afford their own homes.
“I think there may be some other innovative ways to do this and try to make some changes . . . but it is time to put this one to bed,” said Higham.