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Released December 6, 2007



Buckmaster's Circle Gets a Facelift

New life has been brought to one of Newfoundland Labrador Housing's (Housing) oldest residential neighbourhoods. Buckmaster's Circle in St. John's Centre has recently undergone a remarkable transformation, as a result of exterior painting completed on 208 homes in the community. Eastern Sidings Systems Inc. was awarded a contract for $215,000 to undertake this project. The Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister Responsible for Housing, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment, and MHA, St. John's Centre, made the announcement today.

"Quite frankly, the positive change this project has brought to Buckmaster's Circle is amazing," said Minister Skinner. "We've received wonderful letters and comments from tenants, community partners, local schools and private homeowners in the area, all of whom are thrilled with the neighbourhood makeover. I've personally been told by many tenants they are proud to say they live in Buckmaster's Circle, and even the children have a renewed sense of respect for their community."

Built in the mid-60s, Buckmaster's Circle is among some of the oldest public housing communities in the province. The 208 dwellings are home to approximately 625 individuals and, over the years, the community has offered safe, affordable housing to thousands of people.

In the 2007-08 Budget, the Provincial Government announced a significant $27.5 million funding increase, over five years, to maintain and improve the Crown corporation's aging and deteriorating houses. This funding more than doubles the resources available to modernize and improve the province's 5,700 social housing residences. Tenants in other areas can also look forward to continued upgrading and renovation of their homes through Housing's Modernization and Improvement Program.

"I can hardly begin to tell you how thrilled everyone is with this transformation," said Bonnie James, Executive Director, Buckmaster's Circle Community Centre. "It has completely changed people's attitudes. As you may be aware, we had a huge problem with graffiti throughout the neighbourhood and, I'm happy to say, we are now graffiti-free. People now have a greater sense of ownership for their houses, and they are not about to let anyone come in here and destroy them. I just want to express our tremendous and sincere thanks to Minister Skinner, CEO Len Simms and all the Housing staff for the work they have done and the assistance they continue to provide."

This painting project began mid-summer and is anticipated to be completed by the end of December 2007.

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Media contacts:

Ed Moriarity
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour
and Employment
709-729-4062, 728-9623
edmoriarity@gov.nl.ca
Jenny Bowring
Communications Manager
Newfoundland Labrador Housing
709-724-3055
jmbowring@nlhc.nl.ca