One Shovel Closer to Green and Accessible Housing

Thursday, May 3, 2007

  • 7 College Ave. before renovations began

    7 College Ave. before renovations began

Wednesday May 2nd saw the first step towards the fulfillment of many a vision. Along College Ave. next to the Second Cup is a house at 7 College with a gaping hole in the Ground next to it. The 2nd was the official ground breaking at the site. The building is a lodging house that has been operated by the Guelph Campus Co-op since 1964 and currently houses eight residents. The project is a collaboration between the Guelph Campus Co-op and the Central Student Association with advisement from the Centre for Students with Disabilities (CSD).

The extension has evolved extensively throughout the various planning stages. The initial thought in 2003/2004 was to provide affordable housing to international students. Tahira Dosani, 2003/2004 Local Affairs Commissioner, planned a successful referendum campaign that brought about the Affordable Housing Initiative. The plan then turned to a building to provide affordable housing to students with disabilities as there are few accessible housing options in the city. Erika Gates-Gasse, Local Affairs Commissioner from 2004 - 2006, developed a fuller relationship between the CSA and the Co-op and brought $10,000 of grant money to the project. Lastly, the Guelph Campus Co-op decided through visioning over the last several years decided that green development was an important issue that the Co-op wished to address.
Bre Walt saw the project through to the groundbreaking and now the CSA’s side of the project falls to the new Local Affairs Commissioner Evan Dalzell to work with Tom Beernink, Co-op Manager of housing and member relations and Noah Jensen, Co-op President.

This project brings all these factors together into one showcase.
The construction plans include:

  • Passive solar exposure
  • Main entrance ramp
  • Elevator
  • Energy efficient lighting and appliances
  • In-floor radiant heating
  • Solar panels
  • Infrastructure for a future grey water system

Mayor Karen Farbridge was on hand for the groundbreaking and expressed her feelings on the building plans. She said that projects such as this one are important: There are many people that talk about what can or should be done… This project shows what is being done.

There was further praise for this ambitious project from many people and discussion of what this building represents. Barry Wheeler from CSD spoke about the benefits of this site being so close to campus yet providing the freedom of being off campus. In addition, he says that the green aspects of this construction is “the feather in their [Co-op and CSA] caps” and that “this is the future.” This really is the future, as Tom Beernink said at the ceremony, the plans call for a grey water recycling system that is not yet allowed by Ontario building standards. Lia Tarachansky, 7 College Redevelopment Committee member, stated that the building at 7 college will continue to evolve as demand for housing evolves.

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