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Regional councillor blows whistle on housing project loan

The region has approved a recommendation to loan $240,000 to complete an affordable housing project in Ayr
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Regional Council
File photo. Phi Doan/KitchenerToday

Regional council has approved a recommendation to loan Ayr and the District Citizens Association $240,000 to finish a 21-unit affordable housing project.

This is after construction bids came over budget at $800,000, but the association was able to find extra funding, leaving them with a $240,000 shortfall.

Regional Councillor Geoff Lorentz was in favour of the interest-free loan, but raised concerns over it.

"My question was, are we setting precedent? Is this something we will be doing in the future?"

He says the current fund they use for housing projects was at $450,000.

"But you do this once or twice and it dries up the account."

"People in the real world are talking about construction costs going up about one per cent a month. So when you try to do good projects like this, which is affordable housing, are we going to be the back stop?"

Lorentz says council has to do better in working with non-profits to prevent the region from being stuck with increasingly large tabs.

"Maybe we need to use our expertise to help them in applications and their tendering process so they're getting a fair shake and they have a good understanding of what to expect."

Regional council meets again on August 22, where the recommendation will need to be ratified before anything happens.




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