Blacks Harbour negotiates land swap for housing

Submitted photo Blacks Harbour Village Hall

BLACKS HARBOUR – The village council has completed a transaction to divest of the village hall.

In return the village will receive several tracts of undeveloped land.

Blacks Harbour Mayor John Craig, in an emailed statement, told The Courier that, “this deal ensures the value of the village hall stays within Blacks Harbour.”

In a separate interview, Craig noted that if the village had done nothing ahead of amalgamation, the building would become an asset of the new Eastern Charlotte municipality.

“Eastern Charlotte could sell it, put it into the big pot and it could go anywhere in Eastern Charlotte,” explained Craig.

Craig and the rest of the council was concerned that the value for the property remain in Blacks Harbour and benefit the people of the village who, ultimately, paid for it.

The counterparty with the village in the deal can’t be disclosed at this time because the transaction hasn’t closed and won’t until early 2023.

The tracts of land the village is acquiring in return already have services installed so development on the land can happen fairly quickly once the transaction closes.

There is a provision in the agreement that the land must be used for residential purposes, ensuring that much-needed housing is constructed in the area. Craig noted there is no provision in the agreement that a certain portion of the development must be affordable, or non-market housing.

“Housing is the number one issue. I was at the all-candidate meeting (Thursday night) and really the only topic was housing.”

Craig expects the new council will evaluate the needs of the new municipality and decide how the mix of housing will be allocated and whether they invite bids from outside contractors or undertake the development on their own.

There is no chance, according to Craig, that the new council could reverse this decision.

Said Craig, “we wanted to make sure this was done so the new council couldn’t make any changes to it.”

robertfisher@stcroixcourier.ca