A new subdivision is creating hope for a reprieve in Corner Brook’s housing shortage.
It has been one of the biggest challenges and noted priorities for city leaders for years. The vacancy rate had been as low as 0.4 per cent in recent years, causing many local organizations and representatives to lobby governments for assistance.
Affordable housing has been identified as an even larger issue within the shortage. So, there is some question as to just how much Discovery Ridge — the subdivision off Wheeler’s Road and Corporal Pinksen Memorial Drive — will help alleviate that specific need.
“My concern is if it is truly affordable,” said Jade Kearley, interagency co-ordinator with the Community Mental Health Initiative.
She said many people her organization deals with are on income support or a small-fixed income. With rental for apartments escalating to $900-$1,000 per month, many people looking for accommodations are handcuffed. She said even $600-$650 per month is high for some people looking for housing.
Regardless, a new subdivision — especially one with a mixture of single, semi-detached, townhouses, an apartment building and a condominium — would free up other housing throughout the city.
“I am hoping with the apartments and some of these duplexes, it is something that truly is affordable,” Kearley said. “Maybe, individuals or landlords would have to stop looking at increasing rent. If there is more availability, potentially the cost would decrease.”
Paula Sheppard Thibeau, executive director of the Corner Brook Status of Women’s Council, said the combination of housing in this subdivision is a blessing.
“Combining housing of different affordabilities within the same region will be a help,” she said. “I think it is a good thing to be able to form different kinds of housing within one neighbourhood.”
She also stressed the need for affordable housing, wondering just how much of the development would meet that demand.
“The idea that there will be some options is very welcomed,” Sheppard Thibeau said.
In that location, she said it will be important to offer bus services.
She called the development a step in the right direction for Corner Brook.