Tuesday, May 28, 2024

New housing project proposed for Guysborough

Construction on 40 units could begin this spring

  • January 31 2024
  • By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

GUYSBOROUGH — With the grand opening of their 36-unit Carleton Place Apartments in downtown Guysborough ahead of schedule, Caper Developments Ltd. expects to break ground on an even larger housing complex on land owned by the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) as early as this spring.

“It’s still preliminary, but we are looking at two more [buildings] this time, [each containing] 20 units,” the Antigonish construction company’s owner and president, Andrew Boudreau, told The Journal last week, adding: “I don’t think we’ll have an issue filling them. When Carleton Place was just a hole in the ground, spaces pretty much filled up within weeks.”

MODG Warden Vernon Pitts confirmed that the municipality has been negotiating for the sale of specific parcels at Cutler’s Brook Estates – just outside of town – to Boudreau and that, “The stars are lining up… It looks like this is what’s going to happen.”

Meanwhile, Boudreau said, the $5-6-million Carleton development, which began in 2022 at the corner of Church and Queen streets, is “slightly ahead of schedule,” and could open in June. Specifically designed to accommodate people 55 and over, the one and two-bedroom units – affordably priced at $900 and $1,200 a month, respectively – will benefit from high environmental, accessibility and efficiency standards.

While the province subsidizes 18 units at Carleton to make them more affordable, Boudreau said, “on the next buildings, we are unsure” about instituting a similar program, adding that they will be open to “anybody at all ... We’ll just go through a regular screening process. We’re trying to get like a nice living area up there for residents of Guysborough County ... We’ll have three, two and one-bedroom units. We could have seniors, young families, professionals. It will be a mix.”

He noted that already having his construction trades on site means he can get a jump on the new project. “Essentially, while our carpenters are finishing [Carleton], our groundwork and concrete guys can be starting on the next phase. We’re [also] looking at a construction process that would significantly reduce the framing period. That would be the ideal situation.”

Said Pitts: “Council is certainly open to something like this... Housing is a serious situation no matter what municipality you live in. Anytime we can turn around and get more housing, that’s great.”

Last fall, MODG council approved the transfer of two parcels of municipal land at Cutler’s Brook Estates – each with a fair-market value of approximately $33,000 – to the Housing Trust of Nova Scotia for a nominal price of $1 a piece. The non-profit is expected to begin building affordable housing for healthcare workers sometime this year.

The sale to Boudreau will be “at fair market value,” Pitts said. “Andrew has been working with our staff cordially... very well. We’re not hard to work with... I expect we’ll come up with some kind of deal.”