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Stratford receives almost $5M to build more houses faster

From left, Stratford's chair of planning and development Jeff McDonald, Mayor Steve Ogden and Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay announced nearly $5 million in housing funding for the town on Thursday. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)
From left, Stratford's chair of planning and development Jeff McDonald, Mayor Steve Ogden and Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay announced nearly $5 million in housing funding for the town on Thursday. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation is investing almost $5 million to help the Town of Stratford, P.E.I., fast track the construction of 180 housing units over the next three years.

The funding, announced Thursday by Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay and Stratford Mayor Steve Ogden, will help the town shorten development timelines, waive fees for affordable housing developments and rezone land within Stratford.

"This will create lasting change to the way homes are built here, and will reduce the barriers that slow down when we're trying to build new homes," said MacAulay, on behalf of federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser.

The money comes from the $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund, which is being dispersed across Canada to build 100,000 new homes in the next three years, and 750,000 in the next decade.

Mayor Steve Ogden says the funding will add to what's already been done during the Shape Stratford project.
Mayor Steve Ogden says the funding will add to what's already been done during the Shape Stratford project.

Mayor Steve Ogden says the funding will add to what's already been done during the Shape Stratford project. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

MacAulay says the status quo isn't solving P.E.I.'s housing crisis, and that the investments being made now are similar to what the Canadian government did after the Second World War.

"The Government of Canada was involved then and built a lot of homes, and we're going to do that now for the next number of years," he said. "There's a lot of immigration, a lot of people without homes.

"We need the people. We need the homes."

'Options for everyone'

The town will establish pre-approved design plans for townhouses and multiplexes, and an e-permitting system will be put in place to help streamline the application process.

"Stratford is an exciting place to be right now and we're looking forward to watching our community continue to grow, both on the residential and commercial fronts," Ogden said. "We do have an infrastructure gap ... and we're looking forward to seeing that gap close."

The mayor said the money will also help make progress on the Shape Stratford housing supply project, which included $1.1 million from CMHC aimed at finding solutions to barriers around creating a new housing supply.

"Hopefully it will give everyone a place — an appropriate place — to live," Ogden said. "People that work minimum wage, and also people in the 'missing middle,' as they call it, the people who up until now have been priced out of the market. This will allow options for everyone."

Stratford has led the region in population growth for two out of three recent census periods, Ogden said.

"It is a rapidly growing community," he said. "We've doubled in size since we were formed in 1995. We were five small rural communities [with] 4,500 people, and now we're approaching 12,000."

The mayor said the town needs 4,500 new homes built by 2030 to be able to accommodate that growth. Ogden said that work has already started, and next steps include creating an official strategy for the next few years.