Ottawa provides $18.4M loan for affordable housing project in Peterborough

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The federal government is investing in affordable housing in our region. The rental units are being built in the city's downtown core. Katrina Squazzin has the important details. – Jun 7, 2021

An affordable housing project in Peterborough just south of Market Plaza will be built with the help of an $18.4-million loan, the federal government announced Monday.

Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef says the $18.4-million, low-cost loan will help construct a new residential building located at southwest corner of 191-203 Rink St. and 59-63 Olive Ave., known as the “Sawmill Residence.” The building would replace up to 10 homes in the area which Ashburnham Realty has purchased to raze as part of their “affordable housing village.”

Read more: $3.5M in government funding supports affordable housing project in Peterborough, Havelock

Developed by Ashburnham Realty, the Sawmill Residence is a six-storey building that will provide 64 new units of rental housing near Del Crary Park and Little Lake in the city’s downtown area. Construction has begun on this project with occupancy expected in early 2022.

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The project received funding through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s Rental Construction Financing initiative (RCFi), a national housing strategy program that supports rental housing construction projects to encourage a stable supply of rental housing for middle-class families in expensive housing markets.

Illustration of the building to be constructed on Rink Street and Olive Avenue in Peterborough. Lett Architects

“Today, our government’s RCFi is helping Peterborough to increase its supply of new rental accommodation,” stated Monsef, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality.

“As a well-planned, multi-generational project, the Sawmill Residence will offer fresh housing options for families and individuals in the very heart of our community. We all know that adequate and affordable housing is foundational for people in our region and is a sign of a strong and resilient Canada. As we build back better, we must leave no one behind.”

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The vacancy rate in the city of Peterborough as of October 2020 was 2.6 per cent. Mayor Diane Therrien says affordable, accessible housing is a “priority” for the city.

“We are grateful to Ashburnham Realty for recognizing the importance of the private sector in providing housing to all,” she said.

“We thank the Government of Canada for continuing to invest in housing in our community. Housing is a human right and we will continue working to ensure that everyone has a safe place to live.”

Paul Bennett, owner of Ashburnam Realty, says breaking ground on the project was a “long time coming” and involves Lett Architects, Engage Engineering, DG Biddle Engineering, Taylorwood and Basterfield and Associates Landscape Architects.

The “Sawmill Residence” stems from the area’s history of lumber, he noted.

“Even to this day, we found sawdust in the ground during the initial site examinations. Thus the name ‘The Sawmill Residence’ (designed by the award-winning Lett Architects), was chosen to bring a bit of that history back from our city’s past,” he said.

“This development will create some high-quality living options, accessible to all needed services in the area. The building will be six storeys with a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, as well, highly energy efficient and have a large number of fully accessible suites.”

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Bennett said the project would not be possible without the RCFI program and the help from the government and city staff.

In the 2019 federal budget, the Government of Canada increased the total amount available in loans to $13.75 billion. It was expanded in the 2020 budget with an additional $12 billion over seven years, starting in 2021-22. The program now totals $25.75 billion in low-cost loans.

— More to come.

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