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May 19, 2024 May 19, 2024

Bow Island joins federal initiative to accelerate housing construction

Posted on February 29, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman
Commentator/Courier Photo by Diana Bergen

By Brylan Span

Bow Island, along with five other Alberta towns, reached an agreement with the federal government that will help get affordable housing built faster.

In a significant move to address the pressing housing needs of local residents, Bow Island has partnered with the Government of Canada under the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) to fast track the construction of housing by eliminating barriers that are slowing up new construction.

The HAF, launched in March 2023, is part of the government’s commitment to making housing more accessible and affordable for all Canadians. Through initiatives like the HAF, the government aims to boost the development of new housing units across the country, supporting communities in their efforts to address housing shortages and affordability challenges.

“Obviously it’s good, very good any time there’s money available for housing locally. So that’s great news, it’s something that (Bow Island Council) have been advocating for, for a while,” said Glen Motz, MP for Medicine Hat – Cardston – Warner.

Under the HAF agreements announced Feb. 19, Bow Island will receive a substantial allocation of $1,568,000 to implement strategic initiatives. These initiatives encompass a variety of measures designed to facilitate the creation of diverse housing options that cater to the needs of the community.

In the Feb. 19 announcement, it was explained that “The funding will allow the Town of Bow Island to update their housing processes through modernizing their land use bylaw to include as-of-right zoning, digitizing their permitting process by implanting an e-permitting software solution, and regulating secondary and garden suite development. Bow Island will also encourage missing middle housing through an incentive program, and disincentivize idle land with the implementation of a Land Sale policy.”

Bow Island Council has been taking notice and voicing their concerns over the lack of homes available in town. “One of the last council meetings that I was at there, and in talking with Mayor Reynolds a number of times, they do have some very, very tight housing issues there, as many communities in the country do and across my riding,” said MP Motz.

At the February 12 town council meeting, it was discussed that there were only three homes on the market, and that residents were taking notice of this and raising concerns.

Highlighting the collaborative effort between various levels of government, Sean Fraser, federal Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, stated, “By working with cities, towns, municipalities, mayors, and all levels of government, we are helping to get more homes built for Canadians at prices they can afford.”

Motz was happy for the town and commended Council stating “The fact that they put their application together and they qualified and they met the criteria is great news for the community.”

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