By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Northumberland County council has approved the $18,450,000 budget and the financial strategy for the 40-unit Elgin Park Redevelopment Project that will replace nine duplexes on Elgin Street in Cobourg.
Nick Swerdfeger of Barry Bryan Architects provided details of the housing project at this week’s special county council meeting, listing 14 one-bedroom units, 10 two-bedroom units, 10 three-bedroom units and six four-bedroom units. Ten of them will be market-rent units and eight of them will be accessible units (with such features as workable heights in the kitchen, and grab-bars and roll-in shower in the bathroom).
There will be 52 parking spaces. An accessible external amenity area will be sited between the second and third buildings.
Housing manager Rebecca Carman said current plans reflect certain changes made since December to scale back cost, such as changes to external materials and the elimination of an actual programming building in favour of a three-season shaded structure. However the $1.5- to $2-million savings these changes should have resulted in were entirely absorbed by a steep rise in costs that have taken place over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She provided some examples – timber products increasing by 200 to 200%, structural steel supply and installation going up 40 to 50%, and roofing increasing 10 to 15%.
At present, she said, there are no further changes they can identify that would result in significant savings. But fortunately, there are preferential interest rates just now.
Financial planning manager Angie Turpin went over financing plans for the complex, starting with a forgivable loan of $5,770,000 from the Ontario-Canada Community Housing Initiative. They anticipate another forgivable loan of $1.5-million from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Co-Investment funding.
Northumberland County will spend $500,000 from its housing reserve, and waivers of charges should be worth another $18,964. Similarly, the Town of Cobourg is offering $19,502 worth of waived and reduced permit and demolition fees, as well as a five-year interest-free loan.
Then there is an Infrastructure Ontario debenture of $10,461,534. The motion passed by county council says that, should the CMHC funding not come through in the anticipated amount, the variance should be funded by an increased debenture.’
Turpin also pointed out that the complex should operate at a surplus, taking into account anticipated annual revenues of $583,427 (mainly rental income) and expenditures of $301,420 (maintenance, insurance, property taxes, snow removal, repairs).
The impact on county tax levies is estimated at $317,122, she concluded.
“The taxpayer of Northumberland County will be subsidizing this housing complex to the tune of $317,000 per year, is that correct?” Councillor Bob Sanderson stated.
“Yes – that’s our estimate at this point in time,” Turpin agreed.