Advertisement

Federal money for Three Rivers clears a path for 100-plus new homes

Debbie Johnston, left, the mayor of Three Rivers, shakes hands with Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay at the housing funding announcement Friday.  (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)
Debbie Johnston, left, the mayor of Three Rivers, shakes hands with Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay at the housing funding announcement Friday. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)

The town of Three Rivers, P.E.I. is getting $3.4 million from the federal government to fast-track housing.

The money — coming through the Housing Accelerator Fund — will help build 116 housing units in the eastern P.E.I. community over the next three years.

Three Rivers Mayor Debbie Johnston said the town is seeing new people moving there as well as new businesses opening up.

"We're looking at more dense housing so we can accommodate more housing on a smaller footprint," Johnston said.

Debbie Johnston is the mayor of Three Rivers, P.E.I. Taken March 15, 2024.
Debbie Johnston is the mayor of Three Rivers, P.E.I. Taken March 15, 2024.

Johnston says the new money will allow Three Rivers to expand its water and sewer system. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

The money won't be going directly to new builds but will be used to help eliminate barriers to speed up the construction process.

For example, it will allow the town of 8,000 to expand its water and sewer system to accommodate new housing, Johnston said.

"Hopefully it'll make Three Rivers more economically feasible for families and for anybody looking for a place to live."

P.E.I.'s housing situation has been described as a crisis since 2018, when the apartment vacancy rate fell to 0.3 per cent.

As part of the Three Rivers funding agreement, the town created an action plan that includes the following:

  • Identify underused sites and target areas for small-scale housing redevelopment.

  • Encourage secondary homes and apartments within existing residential lots.

  • Allow developers to establish contractual obligations with the town for common requirements — something normally associated with larger-scale development — to shorten timelines for development projects.

  • Transition to e-platforms for accepting and issuing development permit applications.

  • Streamline operations with modern software to reduce wait times.

Lawrence MacAulay, the MP for the area and the federal agriculture minister, announced the funding Friday in Montague.

Lawrence MacAulay, Cardigan MP and federal minister of agriculture. Taken March 15, 2024.
Lawrence MacAulay, Cardigan MP and federal minister of agriculture. Taken March 15, 2024.

The money will help cut red tape and get construction going more quickly, says MacAulay. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

The money will help spur the construction of 400 homes in the area over the next decade, he said.

"We need the people. Just go up the street and go into the first shop and they'll say they need employees. We need people and those people need a good place to call home," said MacAulay.

"That's why we have this [funding] escalator, to make sure that we cut the red tape and get construction going as quickly as possible."

Three Rivers is doing a housing needs assessment to see if its official plan and bylaws need to change to accommodate the new funding agreement, Johnston said.

She hopes the new housing will benefit all kinds of people, from families with small children to seniors.

"Everybody wants to see their community grow, and I think it will make it more appealing for people to move into the community of Three Rivers," she said.