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Federal government spending $5.6 million on housing funding for three Nova Scotia towns

Nova Scotia's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa on July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld Nova Scotia's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa on July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
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The federal government will spend nearly $5.6 million to fast track building 190 homes over the next three years in the towns of New Glasgow, Pictou and Westville, N.S.

The funds will also help with the construction of more than 2,100 homes over the next decade, according to a news release from the federal government.

“With anticipated growth evidenced through the recent Housing Needs Assessment Report for New Glasgow, we need to modernize our municipal processes and work with housing developers to open opportunities for the necessary housing growth for the full spectrum of our housing needs,” says Nancy Dicks, mayor of New Glasgow, in the release.

“Many New Glasgow residents are feeling the cost of living strains and by working with organizations that provide affordable and below-market-value housing solutions with be key in this initiative.”

The funds, which are part of the federal government’s Housing Accelerator Fund, will be divided as follows:

  • $3.3 million to New Glasgow
  • $775,000 to Pictou
  • $1.5 million to Westville

The government says the goal is to support plans in each town to create “a variety of housing forms and densities.”

The Housing Accelerator Fund is a $4 billion initiative that will run until 2026-27, according to the release.

In New Glasgow, the money will also support the future of the town’s water utility “in light of climate change risks.”

“It will also ensure efficiency of the development approvals process by implementing an e-permitting system,” the government writes.

The town will also look into repurposing unoccupied buildings, promoting the development of vacant land.

In Pictou and Westville, the plan also includes changes to zoning bylaws to allow housing density changes, like building more duplexes and tiny or modular homes on smaller lots.

“Numerous proposed projects will now move forward and residents will benefit from the creation of reliable infrastructure and the promotion of accessibility within the town," says Mayor of Pictou, Jim Ryan, in the release.

Both towns will plan to acquire land and partnerships to redevelop brownfields, land underutilized because of industrial pollution.

Pictou will also create a Community Sustainability Plan for the future of its water utility and reduce the amount of public hearings or council support necessary for development approvals, which would accelerate development, the government says.

Westville will also prepare to develop a new water source to “facilitate additional housing development.” The town will also plan to develop a site for modular housing units.

“The Town of Westville has surplus lands available for residential development and this funding will help us work together with private sector developers and not-for-profit housing groups to build homes on these properties that will help ease the housing crisis the grips much of the province and the country,” says Lennie White, mayor of Westville.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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