(Winnipeg) After more than four years of planning, shovels are in the ground today at the site of Old Grace Housing Co-operative (OGHC) in Wolseley. The first residents of the 60-suite complex will move into their new homes in early 2018.
The $15.8 million project includes a mix of 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom units, well-designed common areas and professional landscaping. Co-op President Sandra Hardy noted “The co-op has a very strong commitment to environmental sustainability, and in addition to being a registered Manitoba Hydro PowerSmart project, we are striving for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold.” The construction project is expected to generate a total economic impact of $21.8 million including 120 person-years of direct and indirect employment. (Click here for full text of speech.)
Thirty of the 60 suites are reserved for households qualifying under the Province’s Affordable Housing Rental Program. Six fully accessible units are planned and the parking, service and common areas, and grounds will be fully accessible. Two Peg City Car Co-op vehicles will be available on site and members will have ample secure bicycle parking.
As an inter-generational, mixed-income, co-operative, OGHC will fill a significant gap in the housing market. Hardy credited the Province of Manitoba and Assiniboine Credit Union for supporting the co-op’s vision and making the financing of the co-op possible. “Without their support and guidance, we would have not been able to get this off the drawing board.”
“Today, the OGHC’s vision for sustainable and diverse housing in Wolseley is one step closer to reality, and we are proud to be a partner in this exciting project,” said Manitoba Families Minister Scott Fielding. “Our Government recognizes that quality, affordable housing is a priority for Manitoba families and seniors, and this complex will be an important part of the community for years to come.”
Bill Dinsdale, Community Account Manager for Assiniboine Credit Union echoed the importance of the inclusion of 30 affordable suites. “Assiniboine Credit Union is proud to be the financial partner of choice for Old Grace Housing Co-op. This co-op will fill a vital need in our community, and is a perfect fit for ACU’s affordable housing financing strategy.”
Blair Hamilton, Manitoba Program Manager for the Cooperative Housing Federation welcomed OGHC into the family of 900 non-profit housing co-ops across the country. “The members of Old Grace are to be congratulated on their principled approach. Through their intense work, this innovative model bodes well for the future of the housing co-ops in Manitoba and across Canada.”
“The drive and commitment of the co-op’s members, coupled with the enthusiasm and expertise of our consulting team have enabled us to reach today’s milestone, Hardy said.”
Hardy gave a special thank you to the Wolseley Residents’ Association, local businesses, and not-for-profit organizations that have worked with the co-op over the past years. “All along, they appreciated that a co-op would make an important contribution to the neighbourhood.”
Cynthia Neudoerffer, President of the Wolseley Resident’s Association said, “The WRA is thrilled to officially welcome the Old Grace Housing Co-operative into the Wolseley community. Throughout the years to get to this day, co-op members have actively engaged with our organization and other neighbours to ensure that their vision aligns with that of the greater community. We look forward to watching the construction over the coming months and welcoming new and old friends to the co-op and to Wolseley.”
Joining Hardy, Fielding, Dinsdale, Hamilton and Neudoerffer at the sod turning event was Aaron Russin of Peg City Co-op; and the design and construction team: Concord Projects, construction contractor; Prairie Architects; DSI Tandem Co-op Consultants; and HTFC Planning and Landscape Design.
In closing, Hardy added, “Today marks the beginning of the move from concept to concrete. And I think I can speak for the rest of the board, all our members, and our community supporters when I say today marks a very exciting milestone for us.”
(Photos by Arne MacPherson.)
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