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N.S. government could use federal land for Pallet shelters


The guessing game continues as to where Nova Scotia might locate Pallet Homes.

Halifax MP Andy Fillmore was surprised by the news that a federally-owned parcel of land is being considered as the site for the long-awaited shelters.

“I think it was referred to as mystery federal lands,” says Fillmore.

When talking about a possible location for the shelters on Wednesday, the province's director of housing development hinted that something big is in the works that would get people out of tents and into secure accommodations.

“There’s a parcel land that has been identified and a community housing organization that is maybe a suitable partner and we are in discussions to see if we can advance that project,” says Adrian Mason.

Other than saying the land is owned by the federal government, Mason didn't offer much detail.

“I can tell you very little at this stage, it’s very early days.”

Fillmore wants to know more about the parcel of land being considered.

“There’s also a rule for the federal government here and that is around putting federally-owned lands on the table. That’s something we can do since we are, not directly involved in the housing space. So whatever this turns out to be is a step in the right direction.”

The Pallet company requires certain "dignity standards" be met before their tiny homes can be assembled. Things like access to food and water, flushable toilets and showers, and available transportation or transit. When asked what federally-owned land fits the criteria, Fillmore mentioned a large vacant lot in the downtown core, but said there's already plans for a development on that site.

This empty lot on Hollis Street in Halifax was the former home of the Ralston building. (Jonathan MacInnis/CTV Atlantic)

“There was a building that was torn down, the Ralston building I believe it’s called, in downtown Halifax,” he says. “It’s one of the biggest blocks of the city that was divested by the federal government, it was office space and it went through a Canada Land Company tendering process. It’s now owned and under contract by a builder in Halifax that will build many hundreds of units on that site. It’s in the developer’s hands now but we expect that to be a significant housing contribution.”

A large vacant lot in downtown Halifax is pictured on Nov. 30, 2023. (Jonathan MacInnis/CTV Atlantic)

Shannon Park has been ruled out as another possibility. The Nova Scotia government spent $7.5 million to buy 200 Pallet shelters; 100 will be built in Halifax.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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