Muskoka District councillors were left with more questions than answers after a funding proposal for a new 29-unit residential development in Bracebridge was denied.
During the most recent Community and Planning Services Committee, councillors were informed that their application for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) funding for a minimum of 18 units with a total project cost of up to $8.4 million had been denied. The development is to be located on Pine Street in Bracebridge behind McVittie Place.
According to Coun. Don Smith, who reported on the project to Bracebridge Town council, CMHC has not provided any rationale as to why the project funding was declined.
The objective of the RHI is to create new units of permanent affordable housing for people and populations who are vulnerable and targeted. Through this additional funding, 4,500 new affordable units will be built with at least 25% of investments going towards women-focused affordable housing projects. The District has committed an additional $3.35 million or 40% District contribution to the Bracerbidge project.
Despite the disappointing news, District staff will continue with site servicing efforts to reduce any delays on future construction when funding becomes available. They also plan to engage a cost consultant to refine the construction budget and complete the final design with the design consultant.
District staff said they will continue to work with the CMHC to seek alternate support for the project. Additionally, staff will discuss funding and financing options with other external partners.
Staff said construction of the building will begin as soon as funding is established and the building permit is received.
According to staff advancing site preparation ahead of confirmation of the funding was necessary to improve the District’s chances of being successful in this application to CMHC. Despite being unsuccessful under RHI, the ability to be shovel-ready will help the District to advocate for other sources of funding, they said.
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