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January 30 2018

Fisherman’s son builds homes for small communities

“We’re building as if our parents were moving in,” says Peter Polley, a Nova Scotia developer and the president of home-building company Polycorp.

The son of a fisherman, Peter grew up in a small town surrounded, he says, by “hard-working people with real-world problems.”

This upbringing had a profound impact on him. The last 25 years of his career have been dedicated to creating affordable housing in small communities.

“A lot of builders are focused on high-end projects with high turnover. I am not comfortable with that,” says Peter. “I like to create housing for people I can relate to.”

His current project, Woodman’s Grove, is a multi-building development located in the scenic Annapolis Valley, within walking distance of Wolfville. Popular with tourists and empty nesters alike, Wolfville is one of the fastest growing communities in Nova Scotia.

Peter recently completed the fifth phase of Woodman’s Grove, which will provide housing for 48 families. The building incorporates energy-efficient technology and is close to transit, public schools and services.

He credits the recently-launched Rental Construction Financing Initiative (RCFI) with making the project possible.

“With the rising cost of steel and metal products, programs such as RCFI allow us to build, despite the fact that our costs are going through the roof,” says Peter. “We’re able to hold the line on the rents and still provide quality housing.”

During the holiday season, Peter watched everyone in the new development get into the festive spirit. As they sang carols in the community room, he reflected on his own parents. His late father and ailing mother were not able to take advantage of a project like this, but he is pleased to have made a difference for the current residents.

“I see that the other end of life for many of these seniors is bright, healthy and proud. It gives me a feeling I’m doing something good for the world.”

The Rental Construction Financing Initiative provides low-cost loans for the construction of affordable rental housing in Canada.