Though quiet of late, LoveSong Seniors Housing and Community Hub, has been busy preparing to renovate Pinecrest Memorial Elementary School into affordable housing units. Recently, members of the LoveSong Management Team spoke at an event in honour of National Housing Day at the Madoc Township Recreation Hall.
LoveSong members spoke of the status of the project, achievements, and roadblocks they have encountered along the way to providing affordable housing in the County.
LoveSong began in 2018 when concerned members of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Bloomfield noticed a need for affordable housing in the community. In 2019, a “crucial partnership” with Springale and Elbee Construction was struck, with the land being purchased in 2020 for $370,000. Since then, there have been numerous zoning and engineering studies, along with an application to Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for seed funding.
LoveSong’s vision incorporates not only housing, but a community hub. The housing itself will contain an equal mix of fair market rentals and affordable rentals. Ten units will be accessible. Altogether, there will be 50 of these studio sized suites.
Six of the units will be approximately 500 square feet, with 44 units being about 400 square feet. Each unit will contain an outdoor patio, along with two doors-one leading to outside and one to the hallway. Each will contain their own bathroom, kitchen, and bed-sitting room.
Speaking with the Gazette, Donna Rodgers, Secretary of the LoveSong Management Team, spoke of some of the project’s successes.
One such success being a contract with Hydro One for grid connection capacity, allowing solar panels to be installed. The goal for the project is to produce a net annual hydro power consumption of zero. They were also able to benefit from two summers in the Canada Summer Job program, which saw much of the interior demolition completed.
Rodgers noted both MPP Todd Smith and MP Ryan Williams have toured the project.
“Both of them expressed a great deal of enthusiasm for LoveSong,” Rodgers stated.
Also, after presentations and negotiations with Prince Edward County Council, they are hopeful for a bylaw exemption that would remove property taxes for 20 years.
While there have undoubtedly been successes for LoveSong, there are several roadblocks on the way to completion of this project.
Ongoing costs for maintaining the site remain high until building funds become available. While LoveSong awaits funding, maintenance costs are $10,000. Unfortunately, there has also been some difficulty, as noted by Rodgers, in persuading separate federal government funding sources to work together in order to reduce red tape and reduce time scales.
As well, the group noted the challenge of maintaining interest on both the public and municipal level when visible construction has yet to transpire.
Nonetheless, LoveSong is hoping to be operational by 2024. Their intent is to use a co-investment funding request to CMHC for $11,000,000 that will cover the affordable housing part of the project. The Green and Inclusive Community Buildings Grant (GICB) worth $3,000,000 should cover the community hub portion of the project.
For more information about LoveSong, please visit: https://www.lovesonghousing.org/