The North Grenville Municial Council announced recently that they were donating a piece of land to Habitat for Humanity on which to build an 18-unit condominium style apartment building. There was some concern raised by the public, as the property, amounting to 2094 sq. m. at 2680 Concession Road, is part of the old Kemptville College grounds, now the Kemptville Campus. It was pointed out that assurances had been given that this land would not be sold for development.
However, Council emphasised the need which exists in the municipality for good quality affordable housing, and Habitat for Humanity has a proven track record of supplying just such accommodation to those who would otherwise find it difficult, if not impossible, to enter the home ownership arena. Council were informed that the land was surplus to requirements by the Municipality, and was not needed by any municipal department.
Although the approval process is under way, at a meeting of Council on February 18, Councillor John Barclay stated that he would like to see some sort of evaluation done on the property, in order to be transparent about the value of the donation. “I don’t want to slow things down, but I think that some community members would like to know the value of this donation to Habitat for Humanity,” he said.
This point of view was also expressed by members of the public in letters to this newspaper and on social media sites, and Council instructed staff to provide them with a valuation. In order to expedite matters and prevent any delay in the construction of the units, it was resolved not to seek a formal appraisal, but to approach a local real estate agent for a market value price.
This was done, and Director of Planning and Development, Phil Gerrard, reported to Council last week that a valuation of $89,000 had been given. Mayor Peckford confirmed by Director Gerrard that the Municipality would make back more than that sum through the payment of property tax on the units at market value in perpetuity.
The build will go ahead in the coming months, and should have some ameliorating effect on the urgent need for affordable housing which exists in the community.