With construction on the new Windsor Daycare Centre stalled, those associated with the project are working hard to get it back on track.
Chuck Porter, MLA for West Hants, attended Windsor town council Nov. 23 to speak on behalf of the daycare. He discussed the hold up with the development — and how council could help.
“Two years ago the Windsor Daycare was awarded $675,000 by way of a forgivable loan. We got an email the other day and that (loan) has expired,” said Porter, noting that at the time of the loan, no expiry date was discussed.
Despite the setback, that doesn't mean the project is dead in the water, or that the funding will not be approved if new conditions are met.
“Basically, what they're saying is we're starting over and they want the facility to be changed from the proposed 100-person facility to an 80-person facility,” said Porter.
That means the project would no longer cost $1.1 million, rather $900,000. With the forgivable loan, the group would still require a $225,000 low-interest loan from the government.
Porter said the project is being redesigned in order to meet the government's revised specifications. However, Porter said the Nova Scotia government is having trouble understanding the deal the daycare has with the town.
“The biggest thing that has been a real sticking point... was the deal with the Town of Windsor by way of two pieces,” said Porter.
The first issue is property taxes. Porter said the government wants to know what the new property will be assessed at, and what type of taxes the daycare would have to pay annually.
CAO Louis Coutinho said that's not something the town would know yet.
“We can't determine that until such time as the assessment actually places a value on (the) property. And, at that stage, council would, I'm sure, consider a partial tax exemption bylaw,” said Coutinho at the meeting.
The second issue is the piece of land that the new daycare building would be built on.
“The deal was... although not in writing, that when the old Windsor Daycare on Victoria and Stannus was sold, the $74,000 balance owing (to the town for the property near the library) would be paid to the town,” said Porter.
“(The government) will not do any kind of deal unless I have an agreement in place suggesting what that deal will be, by way of what the tax will be, annually, as well as what the deal will be with regards to repayment of the property,” he added.
The project was initially due to start in June.
“If we can't provide each step, we will be basically shut down and all will be lost. I know that sounds a bit drastic but unfortunately, that is the reality of it,” said Porter.
Porter said they basically require a letter from the town, explaining the property payback deal, and how the town will likely exempt a portion of the property taxes. Coutinho said the town will examine how they can assist the daycare in securing the funding.
Mayor Paul Beazley had the last word on the matter.
“We'll give you as much as we can as soon as we can, I'll put it that way.”