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Three Rivers grants tax forgiveness for affordable housing units

Coun. John MacFarlane during Montague’s committee of council meeting Monday night. MacFarlane was in favour of moving a proposed five-year capital investment plan to be voted on during next month’s council meeting, but only after infrastructure projects for John Beer Drive and MacDonald Avenue were added to that plan.
Coun. John MacFarlane file photo - Mitch MacDonald

THREE RIVERS, P.E.I.- A one-time affordable housing project has been approved for Three Rivers, but at least one councillor would like to see the policy go even further.

During the first official meeting for Three Rivers council at Kings Playhouse Monday, council passed a motion agreeing to a partnership with a developer that would see 30 new affordable housing units in Montague. The developer is interested in building a 50-unit apartment complex with 30 of those being designated as affordable housing if council could grant municipal tax forgiveness on the affordable units for 10 years.

The motion was a one-time agreement with the developer, although Coun. John MacFarlane said he would like to see the municipality work with the province to bring more affordable housing units to the area.

“It’s something that’s greatly needed in this area,” said MacFarlane on the affordable units.

The tax forgiveness would amount to about $320,000 over the 10-year period.

However, MacFarlane said the units will also create some spin-off for local businesses while bringing more residents and visitors to the area.

Coun. Gerard Holland said the province was also supporting the development and added that agreeing to the tax forgiveness would not see the municipality losing anything it already had.

“Its money we haven’t seen and we’re not going to see,” said Holland. “It’s not like we’re giving something we already have.”

Council voted unanimously in favour of the motion, with Coun. Wayne Spin absent from the meeting.

Council heard that, with the assurance of tax forgiveness, development on the apartment could start as soon as this winter.

A location has yet to be chosen for the development, although one of the possible areas would be behind the Montague Superstore.

While the motion suggested council could enact a policy similar to Charlottetown and Summerside, which now provides tax incentives for all affordable housing development, the motion was a one-time agreement.

MacFarlane said he would like to see Three Rivers eventually have a similar arrangement to Charlottetown or Summerside.

“We’ll save it for another day,” he said.

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