The Municipality of Jasper has been awarded a $6.5 million grant to build community and family housing in Jasper.
“This is the most exciting news in housing we’ve had in quite some time,” Jasper’s Mayor Richard Ireland said.
The money will be used to help build a 40-unit apartment development on Connaught Drive’s Parcel GC, next to the Petro Canada.
Ireland made the announcement at a March 22 networking event in the municipality’s council chambers.
“It’s an absolutely fantastic win,” he told his peers.
The funding comes from the Affordable Housing Partnership Program (AHPP), a provincially-administered program benefitting from federal funding.
Before applying to the AHPP in January, the MOJ was rebuffed, twice, by the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative. Those rejections were discouraging, Ireland said, but the community didn’t score high enough on some of the RHI’s criteria.
“Homelessness in Jasper doesn’t look like it does elsewhere,” he noted.
In December, municipal council passed a budget which included a $5 million debenture (a long-term debt instrument used to borrow money) to fund a housing project on Parcel GC. And in 2021, the town installed $7.1 million worth of utility servicing for housing projects on Parcel GC and neighbouring Parcel GB.
Site preparation work has been ongoing at Parcel GB since private developers were granted a development permit in December for a 144-bed apartment complex.
The proposed housing development at Parcel GC, called Jasper Connaught Affordable Housing in the province’s major project inventory, was estimated at $12 million in 2021.
The current 40-unit development has been downsized from an 82-unit version pitched in 2020, but the proposal’s main problem was always the same: a lack of funding partners.
Now, on the heels of a significant restructuring of the Jasper Community Housing Corporation (the project’s developer), those partners have, for the most part, arrived. The federal government is providing up to $32.5 million in funding for the AHPP through the Canada-Alberta Bilateral Agreement under the National Housing Strategy. Jasper’s $6.5 million is part of nearly $66 million in funding to support 11 affordable housing projects in Alberta, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
“There is no greater need in this community than housing,” Ireland said. “Not just for the frontline work force but for the businesses themselves. They need places to house their employees and we need it at the social level.”
Bob Covey // firstname.lastname@example.org