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Infill strategy proposed for older neighbourhoods

The City could be looking at ways to get new homes built in older neighbourhoods. Grande Prairie’s Corporate Services Committee has asked staff at city hall to look into where funding for a residential infill strategy and a housing development corporation could come from.

Councillor Jackie Clayton brought the issue up at a meeting Tuesday. She says she wants a plan that targets specific neighbourhoods with vacant land and older properties.

“The building community, it’s much easier for them to build on bare land, however, we’ve all talked about decreasing urban sprawl. We have a great tax base potential when it comes to already serviced land and what infill can do in strengthening a community and strengthening neighbourhoods.”

City council has been looking at creating a housing development corporation, with a goal of getting housing projects started that might not be as appealing to developers. Clayton says she’s not sure how the infill strategy would fit with that idea.

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“Is it purchasing land to partner with housing corporations, or the housing industry, developers, builders so that there’s low risk to the municipality? Not a lot of impact financially, but sort of a leg up in regards to the building community.”

Hillside is one of Grande Prairie’s older neighbourhoods, and an Area Structure Plan was approved in September 2017. Clayton says what communities should be a focus are to be determined, and that there could be different ideas for each.

“Sometimes it’ll be a simple side-by-side duplex; sometimes it might be a single-family revitalized dwelling with design standards that really bring up the curb appeal.”

Once staff report back on how the two housing initiatives could be funded, committee members will decide whether or not they should be considered as part of next year’s budget.

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