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Sites for new public housing not finalized, contrary to P.C. announcement

Housing minister apologizes for mixed messaging

The Progressive Conservative caucus jumped the gun in announcing where some long-awaited new public housing will be built, the province’s housing minister says.

“Clearly, my colleagues wanted to spread the good news for their communities, and I respect that, but I — our apologies,” Housing Minister John Lohr told reporters Thursday following a cabinet meeting.

Last week, the provincial government announced it would build 222 new rent-geared-to-income units in Bridgewater, Kentville, Truro, and multiple sites across Cape Breton and Halifax Regional Municipality.

On the day of the announcement, Lohr wouldn’t reveal exact locations for the new builds. He said individual sites would be released once “fully finalized.”

But the following day, his party’s caucus issued a news release saying $60 million of the total $83-million investment would go to HRM, with $48 million going specifically to Lower Sackville.

‘There could be changes to the locations’

Lohr said that information isn’t wrong, but isn’t final.

“It contains information that we were maybe wanting to withhold because … we recognize that there could be changes to the locations and numbers.”

He said there’s still “due diligence” required for all the locations before more details will be shared with the public.

That due diligence, said Lohr, will take into account the capacity each of the municipalities has to accommodate the builds.

Earlier this week, Bridgewater Mayor David Mitchell said he was blindsided by the news that some of the new housing was coming to his community. Mitchell said he’s concerned about Bridgewater’s ability to connect new public housing to municipal infrastructure, specifically water and sewage.

Lohr said he’s aware of the concern and his department will work with Bridgewater to address it.

“We certainly would not put housing in anywhere where there wasn’t adequate sewer and water supply. I can assure the mayor that.”

Source: CBC