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Questions remain on Canada’s plan to lease public land for development

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 A international construction company says questions remain regarding the Canadian government’s plan to lease underused or vacant public property for housing developments.

Nicholas Gefucia, senior vice president of EllisDon, spoke with CTV News Atlantic’s Todd Battis about the plan on Tuesday. He noted the project is still in the exploratory phase.

“We’re still at the point where we’re looking at the opportunities across Canada and quantifying what’s available,” Gefucia said. “There’s a lot of questions to answer, but there’s a huge opportunity.”

In April the federal government unveiled its plan to build more housing on public land. Gefucia said the state of the lands is a major question for developers.

“Are these sites ready to be built?” he said. “Are they contaminated or on archeological lands?”

Gefucia noted the scale and type of buildings will be influenced by their regions.

“In Toronto we want to build up as much as out,” he said. “Generally we have to look at scale and mid to high rise buildings.

“Construction solutions have to be appropriate to the project.”

Gefucia said the housing crisis can create problems for everyone from homeowners to renters, and the solution needs to take a wider look at all types of residents.

“We’re really at a deficit across the housing continuum,” he said. “We need supply across the board. It can be shortsighted to look at one type of asset. People need a point of entry in the housing market.”

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