The properties are scattered across Nova Scotia, with 10 in Halifax Regional Municipality. Housing Nova Scotia is issuing partnership opportunity notices, sort of like requests for proposals, for the properties. It’s starting with five properties in West Hants, Cumberland County and Queens County. The 37 properties include one on King Street in Dartmouth, for which Develop Nova Scotia solicited proposals earlier this year. Another 31 properties need more due diligence before they’ll be made available.
“We’ve been working on this for a number of months now, and we felt the urgency to get started on this, and get this out and put these these sites out,” Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Lohr said during a news conference on Tuesday.
“They’ll all be a go, we think, and they’re all close, but they’re just not quite ready yet.”
The work is the result of Premier Tim Houston’s direction to Lohr in his mandate letter. Lohr’s department conducted an inventory of provincially-owned land that could be suitable for development, and now it’s working through the properties to make them available for new housing.
The government also announced Tuesday that the Dartmouth Non-Profit Housing Society has won the rights to construct an 18-unit affordable building at 1 Circassion Dr. in Dartmouth.
“Our non-profit organization is committed to constructing affordable housing for residents of Dartmouth,” Nick Russell, CEO of the Dartmouth Non-Profit Housing Society, said in a news release.
“The contribution of this site will help to ensure new affordable units remain affordable for the community for generations.”
The affordability of the rest of the sites is to-be-determined. Lohr said there’s no specific goal, or percentage of sites to be used for affordable housing. He said the government will use the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation definition of affordability — 80% of market rents in the area — but some could be less expensive.
“We’re evaluating each project separately and we’re doing our best to make it as affordable as possible,” Lohr said.
“Certainly we’d like to see many affordable housing projects come out of this, but the reality is we’re short supply across the whole.”