The Town of Pincher Creek will invite representatives from a company that manages small-town housing projects to council’s next community housing committee meeting.
Council unanimously voted to extend the invitation following a motion by Coun. Sahra Nodge, April 11.
Nodge, who sits on the housing committee with Couns. Gary Cleland and Wayne Oliver, had taken in a project pitch by AND Villages at a recent convention of AlbertaSouthwest, a regional economic development alliance of 15 area municipalities, including the town and neighbouring MD and Crowsnest Pass.
AND hopes to partner with 12 municipalities on an overarching project to put up manufactured homes in each participating community. The homes would be installed in identical 12-unit blocks.
The company’s pitch calls on municipalities to sign over one-acre land parcels serviced by underground utilities, while AND would manage the project. The company wants to hear from interested partners by the end of the month, Nodge said.
Council’s resolution directs staff to invite AND to give a 20-minute presentation, likely via Zoom, when the housing committee meets April 27. It doesn’t amount to a commitment of any kind.
“I think we should at least listen to their presentation,” Mayor Don Anderberg said, drawing murmurs of agreement from councillors.
Chief administrative officer Angie Lucas meanwhile advised that AND’s pitch leaves “a lot of unanswered questions” for the town’s administration. Serviced land parcels might be hard to come by, and any land used for housing development would have to be properly zoned, she noted.
There were 70 units on Pincher Creek’s rental market as of 2017, down from 73 the year before, according to a 2018 housing-needs assessment by the Alberta Rural Development Network.
Most homes in the town of Pincher Creek and village of Cowley were 38 years or older, while the majority of homes in the MD were 28 and older, the assessment found.