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Hay River council approves tender to develop Fraser Place

The Town of Hay River took a major step on March 16 toward developing the Fraser Place subdivision and bringing added housing to the community.
A conceptual illustration shows what Fraser Place might look like once it is completed. The Town of Hay River approved a $3.17-million tender to Blackstone Homes to begin development of the subdivision during a March 16 special council meeting. Image courtesy of the Town of Hay River

The Town of Hay River took a major step on March 16 toward developing the Fraser Place subdivision and bringing added housing to the community.

Council approved the awarding of a tender of $3.17 million to Blackstone Homes during a special meeting.

The contract will provide for the clearing of the area, the installation of underground utilities and preparation of a road base prior to lot sales.

Senior administrative officer Glenn Smith said sales of lots could begin as early as this year.

“This phase of construction is planned to be completed this year,” Smith said. “Lots, in general, will be available for development in 2023.”

Because the area is zoned R1B, both stick-built and modular units will be permitted.

The town is still in the midst of updating its zoning bylaw for council’s approval before this summer and it’s expected that there will be more zoning variation in the subdivision, Smith added.

Blackstone’s successful bid came ahead of two other applicants: one from Rowe’s Construction ($3.36 million) and Green Acre Ventures ($3.83 million).

Town of Hay River administration has said in recent council meetings that Fraser Place development will be a beneficial part of the municipality’s multi-year effort to address housing demand because it is located in an area that is easily serviced.

Mayor and council said on Wednesday night that the approval of the tender represents a significant step forward for increasing housing supply in the community and for a project that has been more than a decade in the making.

“This has been a long process and I think it’s exciting for the community,” said Mayor Kandis Jameson. “We have no land in inventory and (this project) is going to give us close to 30 lots back up.”

With a boost in economic activity anticipated in Hay River in the near-future — including construction and operation of the new commercial fish plant and the tear-down of the H.H. Williams Memorial Hospital this year — Jameson said it will be an opportune time for the town to take stock of housing needs.

“So I think it’s good for us and I think it’s exciting that we’re finally moving ahead on this after many, many years,” she said.

Acting director of public works Earle Dumas said the timeline for this year’s work is tight with the need to clear the area for construction over the next month.

“This is a unique project because we have to deal with bird nesting season and we’ve got until April 30 to do all the clearing within Fraser Place in the construction zone,” Dumas said. “We’ve had issues with bird nesting season trying to get complete work done and it hasn’t worked. As far as scheduling goes everything is slated to be completed this year.”

Other councillors were pleased that the development is going ahead.

“It’s good to see this project moving forward,” said Coun. Robert Bouchard. “I think it’s about opening up availability in some different areas and maybe some multi-family stuff, potentially in that area with our new zoning (bylaw).”