The Blood Ties Four Directions Centre will receive funding from the city to help it cover the costs of both demolition and development for its tiny homes project on Sixth Avenue.
Council approved grants for the group at Monday evening’s council meeting.
The group is building five tiny homes to provide affordable housing along with support programming for the city’s most vulnerable.
Patricia Bacon, Blood Ties’ executive director, told council last week the development and demolition costs have been higher than expected.
It asked the city to cover tipping fees at the landfill at more than $10,000 (for the demolition of the structure on the site) as well as development charges.
That amount includes a grant of $3,244.93 for development fees and $11,652 for development cost charges.
Council was unanimous in approving grants for development charges, but it was only in a 4-3 vote that the resolution to grant tipping fees passed. Mayor Dan Curtis and councillors Roslyn Woodcock and Samson Hartland voted against it.
The city does not typically grant tipping fees.
However, in putting forward an amendment to include tipping fees as well, Coun. Rob Fendrick argued it’s “the right thing to do” for an organization that’s not financially well-off but doing a “noble cause.”
Meanwhile, those against granting the tipping fees also praised Blood Ties’ efforts. However, they didn’t want to move away from not granting tipping fees,
which help cover the costs of operating the landfill.
As Curtis argued, noting his agreement with Hartland and Woodcock, further budget changes would be needed, and a contribution of nearly $15,000 for the development fees is “quite generous.”
Woodcock also expressed her excitement for the venture, commenting: “This is an amazing project.”
While Woodcock said she’s happy to support the initiative by granting the development fees, she said providing the tipping fees “makes me concerned.”
Thus she voted against the grant for the tipping fees.
Similarly, Hartland acknowledged Blood Ties’ plans as good cause and good project. But with the city not typically providing grants for tipping fees, he said,
he couldn’t support that portion of funding.
He also confirmed with city manager Linda Rapp that Blood Ties hadn’t requested the tipping fees in its request until Bacon’s presentation last week.
While the city doesn’t typically provide grants for tipping fees, city planner Mike Ellis confirmed last week that council members can vote to provide the fees.
Staff had recommended that council approve the grants for development charges.
Staff noted that it fits with the goals of council’s strategic plan to encourage supportive housing development in the city.
The tiny home development is expected to be finished with residents moving in later this year.