Halifax allots $1.8m from developer to affordable-housing fund

The Halifax regional council agreed on Tuesday to accept $1.8 million from the developer of the Willow Tree Tower, in exchange for not including 20 affordable-housing units in the building.

The 25-storey building is being constructed under a development agreement, rather than the new Centre Plan rules. Under the agreement, Armco Capital has the option of getting extra height in exchange for units, cash, or putting utility lines underground.

Councillor Shawn Cleary said that the cash offer is a good deal for the municipality.

"Under the new Centre Plan's density bonus formula, this development would actually only pay $841,000, so we're getting a million more," Cleary said.

The municipality will put the money into an affordable-housing fund that will allow it to provide grants to housing co-ops or affordable-housing projects.

That is why Councillor Lindell Smith voted in favour of the cash offer.

"This is a perfect start for us when we look at that affordable-housing fund," Smith said. "I believe this is a win for us."

Councillor Tim Outhit, however, still has doubts about the affordable-housing fund.

"The vision on this should be having units in buildings, not ghettoization," Outhit said.

Only Outhit and Councillor Richard Zurawski voted against the deal, according to CBC News.

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