Rental units at an af­ford­able price to come to Summerside

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY ALYSHA CAMP­BELL

Down­town Summerside could see new af­ford­able rental units in the works soon as part an ef­fort to re­vi­tal­ize down­town.

The city, prov­ince and fed­eral gov­ern­ment have no­ticed a short­age of af­ford­able hous­ing in Summerside.

Des­ig­nat­ing money for fund­ing and loan pro­grams is how the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has de­cided to ad­dress the is­sue.

The plan is to have a multi-story com­plex of no fewer than 40 af­ford­able units, which also in­cludes ground floor space for busi­ness, re­tail or restau­rants, in the down­town core.

The city is look­ing for in­ter­ested de­vel­op­ers to take on the project.

Lo­cal com­pa­nies would be pre­ferred as long as they’re ca­pa­ble, said Bob Ash­ley, chief ad­min­is­tra­tor for the City of Summerside.

How af­ford­able is af­ford­able? They can’t know num­bers for sure yet as the pro­posal is still in its in­fancy. That will all come with fur­ther re­search, said Ash­ley.

Es­ti­mated to be a multi-mil­lion dol­lar de­vel­op­ment, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will have a help­ing hand in this.

De­vel­op­ers are some­times re­luc­tant to take on such large project pro­pos­als due to high risk. Gov­ern­ment low-in­ter­est loans and ear­marked funds, as well as the Sup­port En­trepreneurs and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment (SEED) pro­gram will help the project elim­i­nate some of the risks in its in­fancy. The SEED pro­gram will as­sist with de­sign, busi­ness plans and other spec­i­fi­ca­tions, said Ash­ley.

These units will not be geared to a spe­cific de­mo­graphic but pro­vide af­ford­able liv­ing for any­one.

“It’s im­por­tant for peo­ple to keep in mind this isn’t so­cial hous­ing, it’s af­ford­able liv­ing,” said Ash­ley.

More peo­ple in the down­town ben­e­fit every­one, he said.

“Ev­ery­thing from busi­nesses, restau­rants to en­trepreneurs. Bring­ing peo­ple to the down­town core will en­er­gize the city.” will

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