Region pledges funds for affordable housing

Uxbridge received $2.75 million from the Region of Durham last Friday, all to go toward two, six-storey buildings of rental housing (some marked affordable) on land owned by Trinity United Church.

The land is the location of the former church, which was badly damaged by the May 2022 tornado that whipped through Uxbridge. The building had to be demolished, and Trinity made plans to create a new housing opportunity, along with a smaller home for its church.

“Their goal was to create alternative housing and that the profits from the building would be used to sustain the operations of Trinity United Church,” says regional councillor Bruce Garrod.

Years before the May 2022 tornado, plans were in place for a housing project on the Trinity land along Main St. After the devastating events of the tornado, however, the project was revisited and able to move forward more quickly.

“There are two key benefits to creating 105 rental apartments,” says Garrod. “Front-and-centre is the creation of the 25 affordable units. Housing in Uxbridge is expensive, and this will create an opportunity for people who may have otherwise felt forced to leave town.”

The remaining 80 units will reportedly be rented at market rates. Garrod says that this too fills an important need in Uxbridge, as there is a low volume of rentals in the area.

“One example I like to use is an individual who stays in their traditional house primarily because there is nowhere else to go. This could be a person who has lost their spouse or perhaps experienced marital changes that resulted in living alone. It's also possible children have moved out and left an empty nest that no longer fits the homeowner's needs.”

Garrod points out that these people can now sell their home and stay in town, in turn freeing up potentially dozens of houses for young families to purchase within the community.

“The homeowner may also be able to now access their home equity and live a different lifestyle. The ripple effect of this much-needed alternative housing is far reaching in our town.”

Along with the apartment building, there will be below grade parking, accessed via Main Street north, and a new pedestrian pathway connecting Main Street and First Avenue.

“Considerate design, quality of life, and accessibility are at the heart of the project’s vision,” says Kindred Works, an independent company that acts as the development and asset manager for United Property Resource Corporation (UPRC), which was founded four years ago by the United Church of Canada.

Kindred Works worked with the Township of Uxbridge on a design that suited the Downtown Revitalization plan, ensuring that the buildings would fit into the existing look and feel of the town. Garrod says that “If all the ducks line up, shovels will be in the ground later this year.”

According to the Kindred Works project website, accessibility and sustainability “is a core value. One third of the new units are targeted to be barrier-free. The project targets an 80 per cent reduction in embodied carbon against industry standard, and the design uses Passive House principles to enable low energy use throughout the building’s life. This approach extends to residents, too – the apartments will make the most of passive ventilation and daylight to create a healthy living environment.”

The Region’s funding of the project is through the At Home Incentive Program, which encourages the development of new affordable rental housing via funding and expedited planning approvals.

For more information on Kindred Works and the Uxbridge Trinity project, visit kindredworks.ca/trinity/

Conrad Boyce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos