SUMMERSIDE – Slemon Park Corporation is looking to help with the province’s housing shortage.
To that end, the provincially owned Crown corporation is looking to build 16 new single-family units in its residential neighbourhood.
The company is taking out a loan from the provincial government to finance the work. The exact amount isn’t known yet as the construction tender has not been issued yet. It is expected to go out in the next couple of weeks.
Provincial Housing Minister Ernie Hudson praised Slemon Park Corporation for its leadership on this project, during its announcement Wednesday afternoon.
“Housing, as we all know, is a challenge,” said Hudson.
“But we have to work collectively together, across party lines, with our private sector, with our NGOs and the like, to take us to a point … where it’s not a crisis. We have to get to a point where we’re far away from ever having to use that word.”
The new homes will be two-bedroom, accessible, pet-friendly and energy-efficient. They will be built along Neptune Crescent and Argus Avenue and are expected to be ready for rental in 2020.
Slemon Park currently has 253 residential units housing more than 700 Islanders. All of those homes, single-family and duplexes, were built in the 1940s and 50s to support former CFB Summerside personnel. The residential area is now part of the City of Summerside, while the neighbouring industrial areas are not.
In a 2016 interview, Slemon Park Corporation President Shawn McCarville said there were about 40 vacant residential units in their inventory.
Just three years later McCarville now says they are fully rented and have a waiting list of 60 families looking for housing.
“This is our contribution to (fighting) P.E.I.’s housing crisis. We have the serviceable lots that are available for development and this is our concept as to how we can start with that development as a small part of that overall solution (to the crisis),” said McCarville.