By Cole Parkinson
The affordable housing facility project in Taber is moving forward on acquiring more financial grants.
After Taber and District Housing Foundation (TDHF) secured funding from the Government of Canada, the Town of Taber and themselves, they are looking towards other grants to push the project past the finish line.
During Municipal District of Taber’s regular council meeting held on Oct. 27, TDHF broached the subject of acquiring a letter of support for their quest of funding more grants.
TDHF had already been in front of Taber town council which gave the directive of wanting to see the project progress in the next six months.
Named the Cherry and Main project it, includes 13 lots located alongside 47th Avenue and 55th Street.
“All of this work was funded by generous contributions from the Town of Taber and yourselves, the M.D. of Taber. This year in late March we began to work with Vaughan Hoy out of Edmonton to design a building that would fit on vacant land that had recently been purchased by the Town of Taber,” stated Tim Janzen, CAO for THDF.
As far as the letter from M.D. council, Janzen explained it would go a long way in securing the necessary funds to get moving on the project.
“These documents are particularly helpful to approach Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for seed financing funds. We want to continue to complete the design work for the proposed housing project. The remaining work includes a geotechnical study, we need to ensure the environmental site assessment and we’ll do some energy modelling. Most of the new funding or financing programs require that you are doing a better job of energy consumption or conservation than currently available in the market or the average building. Because it is affordable housing and public housing, there is a requirement for an accessibility modelling report. You need to show either a universal design, so every room is designed the same for anyone who might use it or you have a certain number of suites that are completely designed as accessible. Countertop heights, approaches to sinks, turning radiuses in washrooms, ramping and there is a lot that goes into it. It’s one of the most expensive reports we have to do,” said Janzen. “Quantity survey or cost consultant, currently we use averaging. It’s either done by ARDN (Alberta Rural Development Network) or the architect. They know there is plus or minus there. The cost consultant will use much more current data to determine an accurate cost. Of course, the most accurate cost is when you are at the point of bidding.”
Janzen also detailed he is excited with around $50,000 to 75,000 left to go in order to get to the conceptual design phase.
The CMHC seed funding grant is up to $150,000 and then up to $350,000 to do the work, according to Janzen.
“Our hope is, by completing the application, we actually can access grant funding that can get us to a point where we have ‘this is what we will build and this is what it will cost,’” continued Janzen.
The plan so far is for 21 units, 11 dwelling units and 2,300 sq. feet of leasable space in the project.
“Taber is a funny rental market. Average isn’t a great measure because you kind of have two markets. You have the housing market which tends to be houses or basements that you pay $1,200-$1,500 a month rent. You do have rentals that are lower but they tend to be more vacant,” added Janzen.
Council unanimously carried a motion to offer a letter of support.