Three-way agreement targets Deakin Drive housing development

by | Jun 27, 2024

Town of Woodstock, Carleton Manor, and N.B. Housing Hub working together to quickly turn a 23-acre land parcel into a residential neighbourhood

A three-way partnership involving the town of Woodstock, Carleton Manor Nursing Home, and the New Brunswick Housing Hub could soon deliver a needed housing development.

Mayor Trina Jones and Woodstock Planning and Development Director Andrew Garnett announced the agreement during the regular council meeting on June 25. 

Jones said she was “thrilled” to make the announcement, which offers excellent potential to quickly address the town’s housing shortage, including the availability of affordable housing. 

She and Garnett explained that the town had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Carleton Manor and a letter of engagement with the Housing Hub regarding the potential development of a 23-acre parcel of land owned by the manor. 

Jones explained the land sits directly across Deakin Drive from Carleton Manor’s 110-bed nursing home. 

Garnett explained the agreement with the Housing Hub will take the lead in a joint land-development master plan initiative. 

During the June 25 announcement and in a press release issued on June 26, town officials explained the final plan will include a housing needs assessment, an analysis of the land’s suitability for development, a fully built-out site plan, including recommendations for density, building type and massing, and a financial feasibility study that will include identifying suitable funding programs to ensure affordability.

Jones explained that the town would invest $15,000 to $25,000 to develop the plan, which she estimated would take six to nine months. She added that neither the town nor the Manor committed to any further investment until the plan was fully developed. 

“The goal is to produce a plan that will provide solutions and options that will allow for engagement with both non-profit and for-profit developers to help action the plan,” the town stated in its release. 

In response to Deputy Mayor Mark Rogers’s question, Garnett said it is feasible for construction to begin as early as next year. 

The Carleton Manor board agreed to purchase the 23-acre land parcel in 2017 due to the growing housing crisis, including the lack of housing options for Manor employees. 

“In the past two or three years, the percentage of our staff that are newcomers has increased steadily from 18 per cent years ago to now over 50 per cent, said Carleton Manor Administrative Director Scott Green,

“The board has been willing to listen to the challenges our workers are facing to be able to afford to work and live in our community. We have the land, but we do not necessarily have the expertise to be developers, nor the desire or capability to be in the housing business.” 

He explained conversations between the town and board resulted in a solution they all agreed represented a good first step.

Garnett said the concept began during a meeting he and Mayor Jones had with Housing Hub officials about its service to municipalities. 

“Instantly, the Carleton Manor land on Deakin Dr. came to mind as an ideal project that fit the services the Housing Hub could offer and that could potentially move forward development of their land for much needed housing,” he said. “I am looking forward to working with the Housing Hub and the Carleton Manor on this master plan.”

During his presentation to council, Garnett explained the Housing Hub has direct access to experts and service providers who can quickly develop a plan to maximize the development of efficient housing plans to meet the needs of Woodstock and its residents. 

Housing Hub CEO Nadine Fullarton explained its role in similar projects around the province. 

“The Housing Hub’s mission is to engage with partners, such as municipalities in a coordinated approach to leverage every available resource, funding or otherwise to deliver housing that is affordable but that also fits with building strong and sustainable communities,” she said. 

Jones said the proposal provides a vital opportunity to maximize the potential of one of the few remaining parcels of land in the community’s core. 

“I am thrilled that the Carleton Manor board has agreed to sign an MOU with us so that we can use the services of the Housing Hub as a cost effective, and expedited way to produce a proper development plan that will provide solutions for housing and beyond,” she said. “We have a need in our community for all types of housing, in particular affordable housing, which will be a core focus of this development plan.”

In response to a question from Coun. Will Belyea, Garnett said the Housing Hub plan will dictate how developers and land ownership will proceed. 

Jones expects the development plan would include several styles of homes, including multi-unit apartment buildings, single-family dwellings, row houses and more. She again emphasized “affordability” as a driving force. 

In its release, the town hopes to see good community participation during the project’s public engagement phase, including participation in surveys and public feedback. 

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