Saturday November 22, 2014


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Is help on the way?


Beleaguered renters who have been yearning for affordable housing might finally have a solution.

The Southeast Regional College and the City of Estevan have reached a memorandum of understanding (MOU), in which the City will set aside up to four acres of land for affordable housing units on the east side of the community.

A new 90-space child care centre would also be constructed, relieving pressure on what has been another long-standing shortage in the community.

If this goes ahead – and both the City and the college are very confident that it will proceed – it represents a significant step forward in the quest for affordable housing in the southeast.

It would also send a message to all of the naysayers who say that affordable housing is ideological nonsense with little basis in reality.

The college deserves respect for their desire to bring an influx affordable housing to Estevan. They have identified an impediment to their operations – a shortage of available and affordable housing that has hampered their local enrollments – and now they're working with the City and the private sector to rectify the issue.

They should be allocated a sizeable number the units in this new complex.

Estevan has been longing for a significant affordable housing project for years. A few townhouses were dedicated to affordable housing less than two years ago – and that was great – but they met just a fraction of the community's needs.

It's also great to see new rental developments, and new condominiums and modular home parks available for people to purchase. But people have to be able to afford the rent at the rental properties, or the down payment, the monthly mortgage, the property taxes and the strata fees associated with condo ownership or new modular home parks.

People in the low-income brackets are often faced with two options: find a roommate, which isn't always ideal, or rent a room or a bachelor suite, which requires sharing amenities with other people.

If the college's project goes ahead, then Estevan will be the winner.

The college's students will have a place to live. More people will be enrolled at the college, which will allow them to access the training that they need.

Businesses will be able to fill at least some of their job vacancies. And we'll have more people in our community.

It could also serve as a model for what can happen when education, business and municipalities come together.

A lot of people stand to gain from this project. 



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