It's not a cure-all for Estevan's housing crisis, but The Ridge subdivision in south Estevan could offer a lot of relief.
The proposed modular home park, which would be built by West D Construction, could boast about 400 units on more than 50 acres once it is finished. Underground works for Phase 1 will start soon, and many of the 80 units are already spoken for.
Many people cringe at the thought of a modular home park. They think of a "trailer park," with rough roads, poorly maintained yards and frequent calls involving the police.
These stereotypes are fallacious in many cases. But there will be a couple notable differences between The Ridge and Estevan's other modular home parks.
The first is ownership. At a traditional "trailer park," the tenant owns the trailer but not the property where it's located. The Ridge allows for yard ownership, and residents will be expected to maintain their properties.
There will also be a board that governs The Ridge, similar to a condo corporation.
Estevan isn't the only city facing housing woes. Most cities in Saskatchewan face similar problems, although their shortages aren't as pronounced as Estevan.
The ideal situation would be to build apartments available for rent, but the risk associated with rentals leaves many developers skittish. And so Estevan and other communities have to look to other options.
It's great when nice houses and high-end multi-family properties, such as townhouses, are constructed, but they aren't a feasible solution. They're also expensive. A starter house in Estevan is often at least $300,000, which is out of the price range for many in the community, even in an affluent community.
Condominiums have, for the longest time, been the best option. They're an excellent option for a starter home, they're well-built and a 39-unit condominium building offers some relief. But they can't be built fast enough, and when one condo becomes available, it's usually gobbled up in a couple days.
And that's why The Ridge is such an intriguing option. It should be a nice area. Precautions are being taken to make sure that residents will be protected in case the southeast suffers a repeat of the flooding of 2011.
And here's the trump card: Once the underground services are in place, the homes can be moved in right away. There won't be a lengthy wait to construct the homes. Purchase the property and the land, and the home can arrive promptly.
It will offer the accessible and immediate housing, which isn't possible for houses, townhouses, duplex and condos.
If it works, there could be more developments in Estevan like The Ridge.