Nova Scotia Revamps Vacant Motel to House Expanding Health-Care Workforce


Within a year’s span, the erstwhile Wheelhouse Motel, situated in Lunenburg, N.S., will welcome health-care professionals intending to move to the bustling town or remain within its confines. The property, once listed for sale, showcased substantial potential for swift unit acquisition through renovation. Furthermore, zoning laws deemed the site a fitting locale to capitalize on the previously established infrastructure, leads Angela Bishop, Executive Director of the Housing Trust of Nova Scotia.

The upcoming renovation plans involve transforming the 18-unit motel into 10-12 single-bedroom living spaces. An additional proposal includes the construction of six townhouses tailor-made for families, pushing the total project cost to $4.7 million. The Nova Scotia government has officially embarked on the purchase of the former Wheelhouse Motel to accommodate the burgeoning population of health-care workers.

John Lohr, Nova Scotia Housing Minister, elucidates, “Upon settling down in the community, health-care professionals are likely to purchase their homes or relocate. However, we recognize the crucial role a readily available residence plays when it comes to moving places.” Jamie Myra, Lunenburg’s mayor-elect, commends this valuable initiative, particularly as Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital grapples with recurrent closures.

Myra emphasizes, “The dire housing crisis poses a significant challenge for nearly every professional sector in Lunenburg, especially for health-care workers. Although attracting people to this picturesque town doesn’t tend to be an issue, securing a place to live turns out to be a major obstacle.”

As per Lohr, the province’s requirement for housing is elevated. Therefore, according to Bishop, any units not occupied by health professionals might potentially serve as accommodations for skilled tradespeople. Her stance remains firm, “Given the existing housing shortages in Lunenburg and elsewhere in the province, no unit will be left vacant.”

Upon completion, the occupants will be liable to render the rent to the Housing Trust, calculated based on their respective earnings. The units are anticipated to be ready for occupancy by the upcoming July or August. Other similar projects, set to be implemented in Cumberland, Guysborough, Sydney, Antigonish, Inverness and Colchester, are under contemplation. Announcements about one or two such projects are pegged for unveiling by the end of this year.


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