Trochu Town Council Report

Trochu Council welcomed Colin Lowden, of Studios Alberta to their September 13 meeting, to discuss aspects of the affordable housing projects he has completed in Alberta communities. Trochu Council is wanting to explore options for building such a housing complex in Trochu and some of Council did take the opportunity to tour one of these facilities. Mr. Lowden also brought along his main builder to help answer the more direct questions regarding construction and land. Studios Alberta have experience building affordable housing, usually, but not always for recipients of the 'Assured Income for the Severally Handicapped' (AISH) program. Studios Alberta currently have three completed, fully occupied projects in Alberta: Ponoka (24 suites), Olds (15) and Drumheller (15). Another is scheduled to open in November 2010 in Vegreville, an 18-unit complex, and it was mentioned that the community of Three Hills is also preparing to have one built with 18 suites. Each 325 sq. ft. bachelor suite has top quality sound proofing, a private entrance opening into a courtyard, is constructed to be easy to maintain and furnish, and while water is included in rent, each suite is utility independent. The complex would ideally be situated within easy walking distance of laundromat, pharmacy, clinic, grocery store, and convenience store. The housing development is funded by the Government of Canada through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Province of Alberta through an 'Affordable Housing Agreement'. Trochu Councillors suggested three different land locations to the builders to look at before leaving town and were hoping to get back an approximate budget for a 10-unit complex, with an option to adjust for 15-units. Although Mr. Lowden and Studios Alberta do Administer the complex in Olds and is reportedly going to do it for Three Hills as well (as a 'rural community' pilot project), they were not wanting to do it for other communities, including Trochu. Once construction is underway, the time element to finish is roughly seven to eight months. Other items discussed included the lot size, parking considerations, taxes, available grants and an approximate cost to build of just over $75,000 (not taking land into the equation). There could be possibilities of grants accounting for 65% of costs and the builder would supply applications for some of these. Monthly rents should range from between $350 to $400 with a fixed annual allotment from the government that also allows the renter to take on part-time jobs but graded on a specific yearly income. Councillors were very encouraged with the information regarding these low-cost housing units. They were happy with the look of them, the materials used, the experience of the builders, and the possibilities of grants and how it would be an easy fit into the needs of the Trochu community. They were less enthused about the total costs involved but were anxious enough to strongly consider pursuing such a complex for Trochu.
With not enough time left for advertising, Trochu would not be able to hold an advance poll. Voting will be held in the curling rink. Fees were approved for election officers and clerks.