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$10M in federal funds for multi-unit housing in Fredericton

Fredericton expects to see nearly 300 new housing units built over the next three years. (CBC - image credit)
Fredericton expects to see nearly 300 new housing units built over the next three years. (CBC - image credit)

Fredericton will receive more than $10 million from the federal government to help encourage the rapid development of nearly 300 housing units in the next three years.

"We'll be able to get more houses built faster," said Mayor Kate Rogers.

"It certainly won't cover all of the need, but it will be a piece of it."

The funding, under the housing accelerator fund, will be used for a series of grant programs to encourage high-density and mixed-use housing changes to cut red tape in the permit process.

Rogers said the city is committed to ensuring many of the new houses are "economical," given the lack of affordable housing in the area. She said they will be working with market developers, non-profits, co-ops, and they will be encouraging alternative types of units, such as garden suites and modular homes.

"We recognize where the need is, and right now we sort of call it that missing middle," she said. "Working folks who need housing that are feeling priced out of the market."

Fredericton Mayor Kate Rogers says the estimated cost of the new performing arts centre has gone up due to inflation, and because the city better understands the details of what the project will involve.
Fredericton Mayor Kate Rogers says the estimated cost of the new performing arts centre has gone up due to inflation, and because the city better understands the details of what the project will involve.

Fredericton Mayor Kate Rogers says the city is focused on encouraging the construction of affordable housing units. (Aidan Cox/CBC)

Rogers said the city will also be looking at making city-owned land more affordable and appealing to developers by putting services in place.

Fredericton applied for the funding through the federal fund, a $4-billion program designed to speed up housing construction across Canada. Fredericton's request was based on the city's affordable housing strategy.

The changes to cut red tape and encourage development could provide enough incentive to build 2,500 homes in Fredericton over the next decade, according to the federal government.

Several of the new programs require zoning and bylaw changes, including a condition that the city allow four-unit dwellings.

Rogers said some of the bylaw and land-use changes have already been made, while others will go before council for approval and public comment in the coming months. She said the city will have to consider which areas can accommodate multi-unit buildings.

"The city is always balancing that, how do we maintain the feel of the neighbourhood while also increasing the density of the neighbourhood," she said.

Rogers said the money could help speed up developments that are currently in the planning stages.

"This funding helps us to get that done faster and also get money into the hands of developers who want to work with us to build the types of development that we need in this city," she said.

The federal government made similar announcements in other New Brunswick cities earlier this month, committing more than $15 million in Moncton and nearly $9.2 million in Saint John.

In Moncton, the city anticipates the funding it will receive will result in 490 new units over the next three years.

In Saint John, the city expects to see 285 new housing units in the same time frame.