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Canmore council considering loan bylaw to guarantee next affordable housing project

While Canmore Community Housing Corporation considers bids to develop affordable housing in the Peaks of Grassi, council is considering a loan guarantee bylaw to secure financing for construction of the 10 townhouse units
20180710 Peaks of Grassi Unimproved Lots 0001
Canmore Community Housing Corporation is considering proposals from developers to design and build 10 townhouse units at 1100 Lawrence Grassi Ridge. RMO FILE PHOTO

CANMORE – Canmore's elected officials are currently considering approval of a bylaw that would provide a $1.4 million loan guarantee for Canmore Community Housing Corporation's next project.

Council passed first reading of the loan guarantee bylaw on Oct. 6 and the public has until Nov. 5 to petition against it, according to rules set under the Municipal Government Act.

Manager of finance Chelsey Richardson presented the bylaw, explaining it is intended to guarantee financing of up to $4 million for housing CCHC intends to develop in the Peaks of Grassi area.

"In order to secure the financing, lending institutions are requiring a guarantee of up to 35 per cent of those loaned funds from the Town, so that would represent up to $1.4 million," Richardson said. 

The loan guarantee, if approved at second and third reading, would be in place until the loan is repaid from the sale of the housing units, or expire at the end of 2022. 

"This is consistent with how we have approached these loan guarantees in the past," Richardson said. "The builder and the lender have not been selected yet."

Mayor John Borrowman, who sits on CCHC's board of directors, said the affordable housing developer is in the process of reviewing bids for this next project. 

"This affordable housing project, or Vital Housing project, which is how CCHC is now referring to perpetually affordable housing ... took many years to get to this point," Borrowman said. "This is just one piece of the puzzle." 

The bylaw will return to council for final approval in November. If approved, and if there are no applications are made to the Court of Queen's Bench, it would be in effect as of Dec. 31, 2020. 

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