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Plan for 48 affordable homes in Regina scrapped – Regina

REGINA – A $9.9 million deal between the province and Deveraux Developments to build 48 new affordable homes for families in Regina has fallen apart.

The development in the Hawkstone subdivision in north Regina was suppose to welcome new families this spring. However, instead Deveraux Developments recently realized a change in the original plan meant an increase of $400,000 to the fixed price tag.

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“They asked us to add basements to the original buildings. Our original proposal had crawl spaces beneath the building, it didn’t have basements, and they wanted to provide basements for their tenants,” said Denis Jones, president and CEO of Deveraux Developments.

The developer asked the province to help make up half of the shortfall but the request was denied.

“If you did that, and we do a number of housing every year through an RFP process, what’s to stop the process then of everyone bidding a little low knowing that the government would just back-fill anyways,” said Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer.

Deveraux Developments will keep the building and rent out the units at market rate.

The company admits its at fault and the opposition NDP said the province should have gone to court.

“We’re worried about the message they’re sending about walking away from contracts like this,” said David Forbes, the NDP critic for social services. “This is not good for the people of Saskatchewan or vulnerable families.”

Stuck in the middle of the dispute are families waiting for affordable places to live.

“The affordable housing situation in Regina has been dire since I started here a year and a half ago and it really hasn’t improved at all. So, any loss is a big loss,” said Tyler Gray, housing support coordinator at Carmichael Outreach.

The vacancy rate has been easing in Regina but Gray said rental prices have been increasing and fail to reflect an increase in competitiveness.

Harpauer said Sask Housing still plans to build a similar affordable housing project and will put out another RFP within a few months.

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