Released October 6, 1998

Housing corporation begins land transfers
to municipalities 

A news conference was held today to officially transfer industrial/ commercial land from Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC) to the Town of Paradise.  Art Reid, provincial minister responsible for housing, MHA's Ralph Wiseman - Topsail and Jim Walsh - Conception Bay East and Bell Island, and Mayor Dianne Whalen, attended the conference.  Government recently gave NLHC approval to implement a newly formulated strategy to fully divest of its land holdings and current land development activities in the province.  

"This new approach will see the corporation enter into agreements with municipalities where NLHC has banked and/or developed industrial/commercial land and transfer this property to the municipalities," Mr. Reid said.  "This strategy will provide municipalities the opportunity to promote and market assets that can be a source of financial support for them." 

In addition, this approach will see the corporation either sell any remaining developed residential lots directly, through real estate agents or transfer these along with banked land to the municipalities with NLHC sharing in future land sales revenues on a 50/50 per cent basis. In recent months, Mr. Reid and NLHC officials have jointly held meetings with many municipalities to solicit input before finalizing this strategy.  Overall, there has been strong support for the approach which will afford greater opportunities for the private sector to become involved in the development of provincial land. 

Ralph Wiseman, MHA for Topsail, commented:  "The benefits of this new strategy are invaluable.  It presents a wonderful opportunity and will definitely contribute to the continued economic growth of Paradise and many other towns throughout the province."  

In recent years, it has become evident that NLHC's requirement as a land developer has peaked, and many municipalities welcome a more active role in the sale of industrial/commercial land within their towns. 

Jim Walsh, MHA for Conception Bay East and Bell Island noted: "This agreement demonstrates the benefits of collaboration between two levels of government.  I commend all those involved in this initiative which will have such a positive impact for so many communities."  

Commenting on the value of the agreement to the Town of Paradise, Mayor Dianne Whalen said:  "We are very pleased to be here today for this signing which opens up tremendous possibilities for our town.  Shortly, council plans to publish an 'Expression of Interest' document, requesting potential developers to work with the town to develop this land." 

These changes in the corporation's business approaches will not affect NLHC's commitment to the provision of affordable, quality housing for those in need throughout this province.  In fact, this new approach will enable NLHC to refocus its efforts on its primary mandate which is social housing. 

The corporation will continue to negotiate agreements with other interested municipalities in the weeks and months ahead.  

For further information, contact: 
Jenny Bowring, Corporate Communications 
Telephone:  (709) 724-3055