Posted by: By the OSCA/SWOOS Housing/Health Group
In the fall of 2019, the SWOOS Housing/Health Group carried out a survey on housing needs in Old Ottawa South. We were encouraged by the number of respondents who indicated that they would like to buy or rent in the neighbourhood and left their contact information (75 out of 120 respondents). As well, about 75% of respondents indicated that they would be interested in being part of a supportive community within a development.
In the course of 2020, the group has continued to explore opportunities to enhance housing options for those who live, or want to live, in OOS. Our efforts have so far focused on the following:
- 1050-60 Bank Street development The first focus of our efforts is at 1050-60 Bank, aka Barley Mow, Boomerang Kids and Siam Kitchen. Approval has been given for this 44 unit rental building to move ahead, with a completion date of 2022-23. The owners of 1050-60 Bank property approached the community almost two years ago and one of the developers, Domenic Santaguida, has been in consultation with our group since. We reached out to survey respondents who left their contact information to determine who would be interested in residing in this development. We are grateful to those who attended a meeting in Windsor Park and gave us a list of concerns and wishes that we have brought to Mr. Santaguida’s attention. For example, there were concerns related to noise due to the proximity of Bank Street. We have received assurance that the building has been designed to meet and exceed standards on that score, as well as on other fronts. Mr. Santaguida has assured the group that he will cooperate in providing common space for residents, perhaps at a reduced rate. Our group has been working with our councillor, Shawn Menard, who wanted to hear from us before he gave his approval for the project at City Hall. Gratifying to say the least! This project will move forward with Michael Wilson, a local resident and now a committee member, joining Anna Cuylits to liaise with the developer during the course of construction. Our goal is to have input into issues such as noise abatement, accessibility, availability of common space, etc., as well as to help future tenants form some kind of committee or association. We are also exploring the possibility that some form of satellite health centre, such as a nursepractitioner office, might be located there.
- Other housing needs Our second focus as a group is to explore how the community could encourage or even develop, the housing and related services we need. We would especially like to encourage nonprofit or cooperative housing initiatives. An example might be nonprofit housing for seniors and other age groups which would permit fully independent living as well as various levels of assisted living when required. The goals of such a development would be to:
- Provide accessible, affordable, sustainable accommodation to people of all ages and abilities in OOS. Residents will be supported to age in place.
- Optimize the assets of Old Ottawa South by partnering with local community organizations and businesses to provide services such as recreational and leisure activities, meal services, entertainment etc.
- Create a community of residents with the attendant benefits of social and emotional support gained by living in a caring community.
- Providing supportive health services that respond to the social determinants of health. These services will also be made available to other local residents. We are currently working on a visioning document and will be consulting with the community on it. We are also considering whether some form of non-profit development organization might be formed, which could take advantage of seed funding from government, and also provide current residents with an opportunity to invest in local real estate development. We would like to enlist others to join us in furthering these and other community housing goals. Please contact Anna Cuylits at (SWOOS2018@gmail.com). All feedback is welcome. We will be setting up a Zoom meeting in the near future with those who indicate an interest in contributing in this way to the community.
The OSCA/SWOOS Housing/Health Group is Anna Cuylits, Terrance Hunsley, Carolyn Inch and Michael Wilson.