I had a great opportunity to meet with the Woolwich Senior's Association this morning to have an informal discussion about housing in Elmira. This past election, housing issues was the number one concern with senior's wanting to age in place. I have heard that message loud and clear and want to get the conversation started and explore some made-in-Woolwich solutions.
Much of our informal discussion took place around forecasts of Elmira developments on the horizon. The questions and first-hand accounts of issues facing senior citizens really hit home how we can do better as a community to support each other. Health and age-related debilities can happen to anyone, and the hunt for new accommodations in town turns into mission impossible. I see that Woolwich Senior's Association can be a leader here. I really look forward to where this conversation evolves over time. Our discussion will continue within the association to chart a path forward. I feel optimistic that some action items can be explored further.
Below are my notes about a review of forecasted housing developments in Elmira. I will post maps for the locations when those become available to me.
At the end of this post are the maps associated with these housing projects.
Housing Review in Elmira for Woolwich Senior’s Association
Thursday, January 24, 2019-01-24
Forecasted Housing Projects:
1. Southwood 4
A large apartment block is planned for phase 2 of subdivision. It is approximately 3-4 years away from being built. The max unit is 185 with a min. of 155 units which will accommodate up to 330 people. (1.77 people per unit). This subdivision also has several blocks of townhomes. These will accommodate 54 units.
2. Lunor Sudivision
There are 3 blocks planned for apartment buildings. 2 blocks can be developed anytime. These blocks are zoned apartment only so that the developer is obligated to provide this type of housing.
Phase 1: Corner of William & Country Club estates. (across from Riverside PS on opposite corner) 51 units
Phase 2: Kingsbridge and William.(behind future new Elmira Firestation)102 Units
Phase 3: 28 Units
This subdivision also has townhome blocks. Some of the housing will also be geared towards accessibility with one floor designs.
3. Activa Subdivision
This subdivision is expected to start application to Township by Fall of 2019. Space is located from Chruch St. W (Gale Church) along Barnswallow Dr to line up with First st to Muscovey Dr. Initial design has apartment block and townhomes. Potential 100-150 apartment units.
4. Trinity United Church
Trinity has decided to repurpose their church location. They have partnered with Westhill to demo church and erect an apartment building. Building will feature their church on the main floor, underground parking and about 40 units in downtown Elmira beside Shoppers Drugmart.
5. New apartment block on Church and Snyder.
The same developer that built the apartment beside the Township Admin building. Expected to demo the house adjacent and prepare the site in the spring. Looking to add 21 units.
6. New Proposed apartment behind Elmira Home Hardware
Negotiation with Township over a land swap for parking still in process. Krista McBay is proposing this apartment in downtown Elmira. (Unsure of unit #)
7. Hawkridge Homes Development.
This block along First St E and Union St. This is the land on the old apple orchard. This development has been rejected by Council several times because of the proximity to industrial uses. Since those rejections there have been changes to some planning requirements which may allow another version of the plan of subdivision. Another plan is expected in 2019. Previous plans had mostly single family homes and semis. An apartment block could be accommodated here as well. (Unsure of potential units)
8. Other Updates:
• Sprucelawn senior apartment in St. Jacobs expansion is on hold as is 16 Isabella redevelopment project because of a potential failure of the drainage outlet.
• The Township Official Plan Policies will be reviewed in 2019 which will also address zoning bylaw around basement apartments. Province has ordered review to make more accommodations to provide basement dwellings. The biggest issue seems to be around onsite parking accommodations.
• Riverside Public School on William St. The Township has received word from the School Board that they are still not sure they will declare the former school property surplus. They may start a French-immersion school. No timeline, but no opportunity to repurpose the property for housing in the near future.
• Another mystery condo unit in Elmira is expected to become public in 2019. (Unsure of units)
9. Total apartment units on the horizon = 577
10. Action Items
• Could buy an apartment block from Lunor or Activa and develop site privately. This was done in St. Jacobs in the Rivers Edge community on Water St.
• Start an inventory need for seniors looking for accommodations. Builders will build if there is a demand. Start with a list of names and the types of accommodations and amenities they are looking for. Need to prove demand for builders.
• Could call developers, send letters and express needs through Woolwich Senior's Association. Need to show the demand.
• Could partner with a group like MennoHomes who build and provide affordable housing. They have experience with apartment builds – The Foundry on Church St. E. beside WCS.