© Cole Carruthers
Counc. Don Mitchell listens to Assistant Deputy Minister of Housing Don Allan
during a meeting at Moose Jaw City Hall concerning the future sale of 114 social housing homes.
Transparency and ongoing communication were two areas of discussion during Thursday night’s meeting towards the future plans of Moose Jaw’s housing development.
Assistant Deputy Minister of Housing Don Allan and Executive Director of Housing Development Tim Gross were present to field questions from the public and city council.
“Sounds like this is a done deal and your going to go ahead no matter what,” was a question asked by Pat Toombs, a former resident of a Moose Jaw Housing Home. “We have something in place right now that is very successful and Saskatchewan decides that we should change it.”
Toombs is referring to the future sale of 114 social housing homes.
“Providing those in need comes at a significant cost –– in 2011 the cost associated with social housing was $34 million –– more than received in rents and other income,” Allan said. “In Moose Jaw before we factor in mortgage interest, amortization, investments and properties and other corporate costs the loss of operations was almost $900,000.”
“Our approach has been to find land and hire an architect and design a building to put on that land,” Gross said. “We’ve heard that land is difficult to come by ... and building forms are constrained by the imagination of the architect.”
Two Moose Jaw City Councillors who are opposed to the sale are Don Mitchell and Candice Kirkpatrick. “I recognized we do need additional apartment development as part of the mix and Sask. Housing is taking that on,” Mitchell said. “Having that been said ... there is a trade off here –– the housing units in the case of Moose Jaw spread into the city and neighborhoods provide a living experience for families that is not equal in an apartment complex.”
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