May 27th, 2024

LHA asked to provide more info on housing project to City

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on May 8, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The Economic and Finance Standing Policy Committee of Lethbridge city council on Tuesday voted unanimously to have City administration ask the Lethbridge Housing Authority to provide additional information regarding the budget, specific budget pressures and other project information for a new supportive housing project by the end of July.
The information is to be incorporated into the November Economic and Finance SPC annual budget review.
The motion also called for a request of $1,050,000 in funding by the LHA to be referred to the November budget review for consideration.
The SPC also unanimously approved a motion put forward by mayor Blaine Hyggen that payment for utility servicing costs be deferred to Aug. 31.
The project, to be build at a site on Stafford Drive North, is largely being funded by the province. Ground was broken in early March on the project which has a total expected cost of $11,276,000. Of that money, just over $10.2 million is being provided by the Government of Alberta.
When completed, the project will provide 30 units of supportive housing for the city’s vulnerable population, those who are homeless as well as people who live with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and need long-term supports.
Construction started this spring on the project which is a joint initiative of the provincial government and LHA.
LHA Chief Administrative Officer Robin James told the SPC that the LHA did a change of scope with the grant agreement being for 25 units but 30 are being built.
The initial assessment was to keep primary care space undeveloped and now the LHA is looking at developing it out potentially, James said.
The LHA is looking at the cost of putting in pilings which hadn’t been considered but there is a lot of sand on the north side of the lot which will require them, she said.
When asked why LHA was coming to the City and not the province, James said “we’re looking at this like a scope increase at this point. It will be a scope increase over what the funding agreement was,” which was specifically for 25 units, so the LHA is asking for the City of Lethbridge to participate in the project which it so far hasn’t.
“So we’re asking for up to less than 10 per cent. If the procurement process comes in and we are good and it doesn’t cost anymore, then we’re not asking you for anything. We’re just dotting our ‘i’s’ and crossing our ‘t’s because I heard last time very clearly ‘don’t come to me later, come to me prior’ so I’m coming to you prior,” said James.
Director of Infrastructure Services Joel Sanchez said the cost of the servicing the site would be $106,000.
After her presentation, James told The Herald “I’m grateful that they’re looking at it and we’ll be happy to give them the information they want.”

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