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Charlotte County communities denied housing funding

By Brad Perry Mar 12, 2024 | 2:00 PM

There is frustration from mayors in Charlotte County after they were denied housing funding from the federal government.

St. Stephen, Saint Andrews, Grand Manan, Campbello, Fundy Shores, McAdam, and Eastern Charlotte all applied to the Housing Accelerator Fund.

But the southwestern New Brunswick municipalities were all turned down, according to the mayor of Eastern Charlotte.

John Craig said his community had applied for around $1 million in funding to help with new housing initiatives.

“It’s going to hurt us not to be able to offer incentives for prospective developers to build affordable apartment buildings in our municipality,” Craig said in an interview.

Craig said Eastern Charlotte has several housing developments waiting to move ahead and this funding would have brought a couple of them over the finish line.

For the 2024 budget, Eastern Charlotte introduced over $200,000 towards a new Development Fund to help with incentive grants for multi-unit developments.

But Craig said this fund has been exclusively funded from industrial and non-residential tax revenue.

“Without an injection of new funding for new development from the upper levels, our only option is local tax revenue,” he said.

“We can not expect our taxpayers to take another hit as we are still moving through with municipal reform and the sharing of cost associated with the larger municipality.”

The municipalities were not told why their application was denied, according to Craig, but he suspects it has to do with politics.

“You’ve got one whole region of New Brunswick that was just totally left out and our MP is Conservative. I’m hoping that’s not what it is, but that’s the way it looks like,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which administers the fund, said he was unable to speak to specific applications.

But David Harris said discussions are ongoing with unsuccessful applicants and CMHC is committed to working with all applicants to seek positive housing solutions for their communities through other programs.

“Unfortunately, not all applications could be funded due to the high demand for the [Housing Accelerator Fund]. The evaluation process was highly competitive, with many strong applications received,” Harris wrote in an email.

Harris also pointed us to a list of best practices that have emerged from applicants who have been successful.