Okotoks gifts 2.3 acres to not-for-profits for affordable housing projects
Map of the 2.3 acres in Okotoks that will be utilized by two not-for-profits for the construction of affordable housing. (Town of Okotoks)
CALGARY -- Okotoks town council has approved a land transfer that will allow two not-for-profit agencies to construct affordable, safe housing for people in need.
On Monday, council voted in favour of transferring 2.3 acres in the community of D'Arcy to Westwinds Communities — an organization that provides services for senior and subsidized housing for individuals and families — and the Brenda Stafford Society, an agency that supports women and families escaping domestic violence.
"This is an important step in ensuring there are diverse housing choices to fit all residents’ needs at every age and stage of their lives," said Mayor Bill Robertson in a statement released Thursday. "In making this decision, Council recognizes that we all share ownership in creating a welcoming, inclusive community that we all want to live in."
The land was originally purchased by the town in 2019 for $2.6 million as part of a partnership with Westwind Communities and Rowan House. When Rowan House withdrew, the Brenda Stafford Society was brought on board.
“The Brenda Strafford Society is thrilled about the possibilities our partnership with the Town of Okotoks represents and the positive impact our collaboration will create in the lives of women and children impacted by family violence," said Linda McLean, Brenda Stafford Society executive director. "We applaud the Town of Okotoks for their commitment to fostering creation of a safe, inclusive, and responsive community."
Westwind Communities plans to construct two buildings, offering a combined 50 below-market rental units for seniors, families and some youth who are on waitlists for housing.
The Brenda Stafford Society aims to build 42 transitional housing units, as well as staff accommodations, with shared amenity spaces for women and families fleeing abuse.
According to town officials, Westwind Communities proposed a repayment agreement to cover half of the original land cost but the town declined the offer as it would likely restrict the organization's ability to price its rental units affordably.
The two organizations will be responsible for the cost of site development, permits and construction on the site and, according to a drafted memorandum of understanding, construction is slated to begin in 2022.