This release was issued under a previous government.

The Government of Alberta has completed a deal to purchase the federal government’s interest in the four-acre Willow Square site near downtown Fort McMurray. The province will transfer the land to the Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corporation to develop a wide range of housing options to meet the needs of the community, including seniors.

“Alberta families and seniors deserve accessible, comfortable and affordable housing options close to home. For that to happen in such a rapidly developing region like Wood Buffalo, land must be available and brought on stream for development. This agreement will provide the municipality with the tools it needs to meet the community’s varied housing needs.”

Jim Prentice, Premier of Alberta

“Premier Prentice, Prime Minister Harper and Minister Johnson made this land transfer a priority. Now we can move forward and help provide much-needed housing options for seniors and lower-income residents in our community.”

Don Scott, MLA Fort McMurray-Conklin

The site had been jointly-owned by the provincial government and the federal government’s national housing agency, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

This agreement will see the 75 percent federal share of the land transferred to the Alberta Social Housing Corporation (ASHC) which currently holds a 25 percent ownership in the property.

In addition to the land, the Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corporation will also receive approximately $3 million in provincial funding to develop the site.

“The sale of this property means real benefits for Fort McMurray and provides new affordable housing options for seniors and local residents. This supports our focus on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity in Canada.”

David Yurdiga, Member of Parliament for Fort McMurray-Athabasca, on behalf of the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism

The housing management body plans to develop needed accommodations such as self-contained apartments and lodge units for lower-income, functionally-independent seniors. The municipality will also develop housing for lower-income, non-seniors residents.

“Today’s important announcement by the Alberta government provides the opportunity to develop Willow Square for the well-being of our seniors and residents. We look forward to working in collaboration with WBHDC and the Advisory Committee on Aging in fostering the facilities our seniors need and deserve.”

Melissa Blake, Mayor of Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

The Willow Square site is currently vacant land. It once contained a 1960s-era affordable housing complex, which was demolished due to its age.

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