Chair of housing task force looking to ‘get shovels in the ground’ as soon as possible

By Chris Halef

The chair of a provincial housing task force says they're looking to get shovels in the ground as quickly as possible.

Former Liberal cabinet minister Geoff MacLellan was named chair of the task force late last year to address housing challenges in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

The task force is part of the province's plan to increase supply with a focus on faster planning and development approvals for large residential projects.

He told CityNews Halifax they're looking at ways to speed up construction of new housing.

“The key part for the mandate of that task force at this point is about moving applications and getting shovels in the ground,” he said. “The recommendations on regulatory and such, that will come in short order but right now, the urgent piece and our job, quite frankly, is to get projects moving.”

Although the task force will only submit recommendations, MacLellan said he believes they do have leverage and authority to ensure action is taken.

“When we get into the spring and construction season, I think that developers, not-for-profit housing advocates and those involved in solving this very complex housing crisis issue are going to feel a difference,” said MacLellan.

Recent estimates placed the housing shortage at roughly 25,000 units in HRM.

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