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Ottawa Community Housing set to build eco-inspired homes in Centretown West

Ottawa Community Housing Chair Mathieu Fleury is pictured with Bay Ward Coun. Taylor on Thursday in front of one the Rochester Heights homes set to be demolished. Ottawa Community Housing

Ottawa Community Housing is getting ready break ground on a new block of affordable housing in Centretown West.

The first phase replaces 26 townhouse units from the Rochester Heights community that are at the end of their lives. The homes sit on a parcel of land north of Gladstone. An eight-storey L-shaped apartment building with approximately 148 homes will take their place.

The building will increase the affordable housing stock on the site, with a mix of dwelling sizes and public amenity space, both in the building and on the land.

The $34-million project, $11 million of which was provided by the Investment in Affordable Housing Program, will be OCHC’s first-ever attempt at a net-zero designation, meaning the building will produce as much electricity as it consumes.

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“Thanks to the joint $11-million investment by Canada, Ontario and City of Ottawa, Ottawa Community Housing will break ground on the first phase of the Rochester Heights redevelopment,” said MPP Yasir Naqvi in a release. “I am thrilled this fund will allow OCH to take this important step in building modern, green affordable homes in our community.”

One of the ways OCHC plans to accomplish this is to install a bank of solar panels. The array will be on par with a similar one installed Regina Lane townhomes, which, according to OCH, produces enough electricity annually to power 12 homes.

All of OCHC’s buildings practise waste diversion. As the 26 homes were being vacated in Rochester Heights, five kitchens were salvaged to use as materials for renovations in other communities. Any metal salvaged will be sold and the proceeds will be donated to the OCH Foundation to help fund further affordable housing projects in the city.

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“Ottawa Community Housing has proven we can be industry leaders when it comes to community renewal,” said Ottawa Community Housing Corporation CEO Stéphane Giguère in a release. “We want to build for the future, both with development that increases capacity, and in a way that protects our environment for future generations.”

The Investment in Affordable Housing program began with the goal of providing more than $800 million in federal and provincial funding to improve access to affordable housing over six years. In Ottawa, the program has provided funding to a total of 16 projects throughout the city.

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