Riverdale to host affordable housing

After 14 years, single parents waiting for new affordable housing in the territory only have a couple more years to go.

After 14 years, single parents waiting for new affordable housing in the territory only have a couple more years to go.

A 30-unit affordable family housing project is planned for Nisutlin Drive in Riverdale.

“We’ll have no problem filling the building,” said Women’s Directorate policy analyst Robin Round.

“There hasn’t been this kind of housing built in Whitehorse for a long time.”

The complex will be a showcase, she said.

It will be built to “super-green standards.

“And we’re going to put as many amenities as possible in the building.”

Consultations with women on social assistance, women’s groups, the homeless and stakeholders highlighted specific requirements: the complex needed to be close to schools, daycares, a bus stop and a grocery store.

The Nisutlin Drive location is ideal, said Round.

“It’s close to the Lewes bus stop, five schools, daycares; it’s just down from the Super A and there’s even a playground nearby.

“It’s a wonderful sight.”

The land was also free.

It’s Crown land, said Round.

“It’s valued at $500,000 to $650,000, so that money won’t have to come out of the budget and can go into more amenities instead.”

The project is budgeted at $10.5 million, said Yukon Housing vice-president Dale Kozman.

The chosen location is currently undergoing an environmental review that could take up to three months, he said.

A survey of the site has to be completed, the plans must to be registered with land titles, and the project will then be submitted to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board.

Once that’s completed, there will be tenders to design the building, said Kozman.

“We want to use as many local people as we can,” he said.

“But we’re going to put out a tender for the architectural part.”

The building will be designed over the winter.

And construction should start in the spring.

“We hope to have people in it by fall 2010,” said Kozman.

The building will have two-, three- and four-bedroom units, and may also include a daycare, meeting areas, a community kitchen, library and a garden.

A variety of design features are being considered including energy efficiency to Green Home Standards, a barrier-free design to accommodate people with disabilities, and special security and durability features.

“Women wanted it to be durable to make it tough for kids,” said Round.

Ottawa’s Northern Housing Trust, designed to provide affordable housing in the North, is funding the project.

And in this year’s budget, the Yukon government has set aside $960,000 for planning and design.

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