Wakefield builder may reject amount received from Green Fund
By Stuart Benson
Wakefield builder Andrew Ryan was unpleasantly surprised Oct. 9, when he was informed, for the first time by this reporter, that he had been awarded $3,750 in financial contributions from the Green Fund at La Pêche municipal council, which was held Oct. 5.
“I'm baffled,” Ryan said when he was told the amount. “I'm surprised that they went ahead with that amount after I already said ‘No.’ My minimum was $7,500.”
Ryan explained that he had been in communication with a representative from the fund, including sending a “pretty extensive” email explaining the expenses and funding requirements for his project, the “Wakefield Sustainable Housing Study,” which would examine how best to provide affordable, energy-efficient housing.
Ryan projected the total cost of the study would be $30,000.
The Low Down reached out to La Pêche Mayor Guillaume Lamoureux, who did not comment but directed the newspaper instead to the Green Fund’s “Standards and Criteria” document.
According to the grant terms and conditions found in that document, for a project “whose total cost is more than $5,000, financial support may be up to 50 per cent of the total eligible project expenses.”
“I'm contributing $7,500 in [labour] and have already received $7,500 in financial contributions from two companies, Groupe Zelo and Maison Chicoine Homes,” Ryan said.
Ryan added that, given the amount of complexity, uniqueness and expertise required to complete the study, he can’t deliver what he promised for less than $7,500.
“I just don't understand what they were thinking; I was pretty clear that the study couldn't go on with that amount,” Ryan said. “I can't just do this for $10 an hour, I'm a professional.”
Ryan is a professional builder with 10 years of experience in the field, has been a vocal advocate for the importance of including affordable housing options as a significant goal for Wakefield residents and is knowledgeable in the areas of construction and environmental sustainability.
Ryan said he isn’t sure what he’s going to do next, other than try to reach out to the municipality to find out if that amount was in error, but he said he can’t take the offer as it stands.
“I'm not sure what their strategy is. When someone tells you ‘No, I can't accept that, but I'll accept this,’ you don't just go and throw them the low ball and see what happens; it's very unprofessional,” Ryan added.
The Green Fund supports innovative projects from the community and actions in areas such as fighting climate change, managing waste, protecting water and caring for the soil, and support for those efforts is a natural outgrowth of La Pêche’s 2019–2023 strategic plan, in which climate change is one of eight identified priority issues, according to the municipality.