Affordable and sustainable: Ottawa South to get 16 new units

By David Smith, Algonquin College Journalism

Ottawa Community Housing, in partnership with the provincial and federal governments, has announced funding for 16 new affordable housing units in Ottawa South.

The Uplands Drive Ashgrove development will be getting a mix of seven new townhomes, with four to six bedrooms for larger families, three triplexes and four barrier-free homes for tenants with accessibility needs.

The design of the new units focuses on sustainability and accessibility. All of the new homes will incorporate low water consumption features, efficient LED lighting and radiant underfloor heating technology, to reduce energy costs and lower the community's environmental footprint.

As part of the new build, all of the community's exterior lighting will be powered by solar cells located on the roofs of the new units.

"We are investing in education and behaviour to ensure that the residents are fully aware of how to use and maximize utility consumptions...those savings benefit both the residents and the corporation," Ottawa Community Housing CEO Stéphane Giguère said in a phone interview.

Giguère said that one of the goals of the Ashgrove development is making units as easy to move around in as possible for people with mobility challenges. This includes things like wider doorways without thresholds, higher outlets (some of which will be able to charge electric wheelchairs), and showers that allow wheelchair access.

"What we're looking at here is to create mixed-income communities, mixed-use communities where diversity and inclusion can live together, that's really important to us and that's part of the investment that we are making," he said.

The federal and provincial governments are investing $2.4 million for the Ashgrove project, as part of the bilateral Investment in Affordable Housing agreement between the province and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

This comes as part of a larger $54 million investment in 675 units Ottawa-wide, all part of Canada's National Housing Strategy – a 10-year, $40 billion plan which aims to reduce chronic homelessness in Canada by 50 per cent.