The New Aberdeen Revitalization and Affordable Housing Society enjoyed a strong 2019 and hopes to expand its efforts this year.
Society chairperson Jennifer Ludlow said the group has been busy selling lots of land in the community, known by many as the No. 2 area of Glace Bay. The money from those sales is used for initiatives that benefit the New Aberdeen area.
“The main goal of the group is to sell these vacant lots and have homes built on them,” she said. “We market the lots and if we get a sale, we apply to council to have the lots turned over to us for $1. The motion goes before council, the lot gets turned over to us and we sell it to the person for lower than the assessed value. The money from that goes back into the community.”
So far, four of these lots have been sold and there are 11 still available. The serviced lots for sale, that average about $3,000 apiece, are located between Center and West avenues, running from Second Street to the south side of Ninth Street.
There is also a condition on each sale which states a house must be built on the lot within a year. Ludlow said that’s to ensure someone doesn’t buy the lots and have them sit vacant.
“The serious people don’t mind the condition,” she said. “The CBRM (Cape Breton Regional Municipality) last year re-zoned the area to allow mini homes, so we think that’s going to make a big difference. We have one mini home on there already, someone bought a lot to put a mini home on there and it’s beautiful — it looks great. We’re hoping that will encourage more people to buy because the lots are perfect for mini homes because it used to be half a company house and it’s a long lot, so it’s good for a mini home.”
The proceeds have helped with a number of community initiatives. The society teamed with Bay Days and Warden United Church for New Aberdeen Days over the summer. In December, they held a children’s Christmas party at the church as well. Both events had a strong turnout.
“It was 33 degrees out and about 400 people showed up,” Ludlow said of New Aberdeen Days. “We put it throughout the community. We had something at Warden church, something at the garden next to the convenience store and we had a pop-up art show with photos of the old company houses pasted on a company house on Fourth Street, so people had to move around the community.
“It was so hot, but it was amazing. We were thrilled with the outcome.”
They have co-hosted the Good Food Bus, which also garnered a positive response. The New Dawn program sells produce on a refurbished transit bus that’s sold at cost. The next visit is Feb. 1 at Warden church. The group has also used some of the lot proceeds to donate $1,000 worth of furnace oil, split between four families in the area.
As for the future, Ludlow is confident with the interest in the lots that the society will eventually sell them all. Case in point: A developer from Halifax visited recently to tour the area.
“It’s not just building new buildings that will revitalize a community, it’s to build a sense of community there.”
The group consists of Ludlow, vice-chair Allister Moore, secretary-treasurer Tanya Duffy, as well as members Rev. Alison Etter and John Hennessy. New members are welcome to join.