Minden Hills council voted to formally waive fees associated with a proposed new affordable housing project at Highway 35 and County Road 21 in Minden.

It’s part of a countywide initiative to provide incentives to prospective builders to achieve affordable housing targets under the County of Haliburton and City of Kawartha Lakes Housing and Homelessness Plan.

At its Sept. 9 meeting, CAO Trisha McKibbin said, “I know that council is very much aware that we do have within the County and Minden Hills a lack of purposebuilt rental units and rental properties are few and far between and it is a challenge for … residents to find housing.”

It means the County and township waiving just under $400,000 in application fees, site plan security and building permit.

She said the benefit is the KLH Housing Corporation is planning to build 36 new affordable housing rental units.

The County and its four lower-tier municipalities are inviting private developers, community housing providers, affordable housing providers, community agencies and residents to apply for the incentives.

Coun. Bob Carter commented, “For us, it’s really a waiving of fees and a donation of a road allowance that we weren’t using. The $360,000, which is the majority of it, 90 per cent, that’s part of the County program that really has nothing to do with us. I certainly would have no objection.”

Coun. Pam Sayne said, “our downtown is screaming for people that can find affordable housing so that they can be employed in our downtown area so I think this is going to be a big boost for our community and I’m looking forward to the shovels in the ground.”

Coun. Ron Nesbitt asked about the project timeline.

Carter, who sits on the housing task force, said there is one outstanding item before the MTO and it is also in the hands of the CMHC, so “we don’t know.”

Deputy mayor Lisa Schell said the ask was nothing new and council is supportive of the program.

A formal agreement and the passing of a bylaw will come to a future council meeting.

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