First-time home­buy­ers project side­lined

Sackville Tribune - - NEWS - BY KATIE TOWER STAFF RE­PORTER

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.

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