Published by Bay Today on June 29, 2023
An agreement has been signed to transfer a vacant North Bay property on Brookes Street from the District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board’s Nipissing District Housing Corporation to Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS) for the planned construction and administration of 60 affordable housing units.
In discussions during DNSSAB’s Board meeting on Wednesday, it was revealed all of the 60 units on the site will be affordable. Forty units will be available at 80 per cent of average market rent and the other 20 units will be offered at geared-to-income rent levels. OAHS will develop an L-shaped affordable apartment building, primarily one-bedroom with some two-bedroom units and a common room for residents’ use.
The units will be rented to the local Indigenous population first and extended to others if there are vacancies, “but definitely focused on Indigenous folks first,” according to Donna Mayer, DNSSAB’s manager of project development.
Consultations were held with the housing division of Native People of Nipissing. The land transfer agreement between the two organizations ensures the property will be developed, operated, and maintained by OAHS for affordable rental housing for 20 years. The agreement also stipulates the property cannot be sold or redeveloped for anything other than affordable rental housing, within the 20-year period.
“We worked on these options for five years and it’s finally coming to completion and it’s really great news for the neighborhood. It’s great news for the city. It’s great news for the district,” said Board Chair Mark King. “We have committed to increasing affordable housing in the district and this agreement with OAHS, in addition to the proceeds from the sale of the Indigenous Hub, goes a long way in meeting that commitment.”
The agreement gives OAHS until October 2024 to begin construction with an option to extend to October 2025, the DNSSAB Board heard. With an 18- to 24-month timeline, if construction begins by summer or fall 2024, that equals a possible completion date of early spring 2026.
“OAHS is pleased to be working in partnership with NDHC to bring safe, affordable housing to the urban Indigenous community in North Bay,” says Cathy Connor, director of housing development. “We would like to thank their team for their hard work and continued support and we look forward to breaking ground in 2024.”
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