As the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation continues work on a development that will add 20 rental units to the Whitehorse market, the City of Whitehorse has confirmed it will provide the First Nation with a development incentive worth up to $500,000 over 10 years.
Whitehorse city council approved the proposed incentive agreement outlining the terms at its June 28 meeting.
Coun. Steve Roddick was quick to voice his support for the project ahead of the vote.
“I think this is a positive development,” he said.
The project would see a townhouse development — five structures featuring 20 homes in total — built at 195 Olive May Way in Whistle Bend. A variety of one, two and three bedroom units are planned.
In an earlier report to council, the city’s subdivision and land coordinator Kinden Kosick said the development meets all the criteria for the city’s rental and supportive housing development incentive.
The incentive policy is in place to encourage the development of smaller, denser housing in targeted areas as well as adding to the city’s rental and supportive housing stock.
“Developments that meet the specified criteria are eligible for a reduction of development cost charges, a yearly monetary grant from the city, or both,” Kosick said. “The value of the grant would be based on the increase in taxation due to the improvements on the property.”
Under the policy, rental and supportive housing incentives grant eligible developers a reduction of the development cost charges and a 10-year economic development incentive to a maximum of $500,000 through the incentive agreement.
“Implementation is through a grant to the property owner after taxes have been paid in full,” Kosick said.
Under the agreement, the units will be required to remain as rentals for a minimum of 10 years, or the developer is required to pay back any grant amounts already provided. The agreement is clear the units cannot be used as short-term rentals.
The development is one of four housing projects in the territory that will receive funding from the federal government’s Rapid Housing Incentive. A total of $12.8 million will be put towards the four projects with the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation’s initiative set to receive $6 million.
“CAFN is happy to have the opportunity to build and offer homes in Whitehorse for the very first time, because we believe having a place to call home is a foundation for a good life,”Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Dän nätthe äda Kaaxnox Chief Steve Smith said when the funding was announced. “It is dän k’e – our way, to help those who need it most, so focusing on our people who face homelessness and severe housing need is important to us as dän shawthän (good Southern Tutchone people).”
Coun. Samson Hartland described the project as an example of how governments can work together.
“I’m certainly proud to support this tonight,” he said, just before raising his hand to support the development incentive approval.
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