Ottawa Community Housing.

December 18, 2009 11:00 ET

Collective Act of Kindness to Build a New Apartment Building for Families in Need

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 18, 2009) - The construction workers building the new Ottawa Convention Centre (OCC) have partnered with the development sector to restore an apartment building and donate it to families in need of shelter and support.

In what is termed "a collective act of kindness", the Ottawa Building and Construction Trades Council, along with its industry affiliates and their members, have struck an agreement with the City of Ottawa, the Province of Ontario, and Ottawa Community Housing, among others, to demolish sections and re-build 245 Crichton Street, a century-old apartment facility with six units - each with two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, living area, and balcony.

"When the old Ottawa Congress Centre was torn down, a number of people who were homeless were displaced," said Richard Corcoran, president of the Ottawa Building and Trades Council. "In working with our partners at the Ottawa Convention Centre, the City of Ottawa, the province, the government of Canada, we collectively decided we should extend our efforts to those who are less privileged. It is a way to give back to our community as we try to build new facilities."

The initiative is being led by the Ottawa Convention Centre Redevelopment project partners including the Ottawa Building and Construction Trades Council, their affiliates and its members; PCL Constructors, GBA, and BBB Architects. Students from the Algonquin College Building and Trade faculty will team up with qualified trades people to help restore the apartment building. A competition is underway at the Carleton University School of Architecture to design the apartment complex in a way that respects its heritage but also reflects modern amenities and sustainability. The winning design team as judged by BBB Architects will receive $1000.

"The Crichton Street project is a unique example of local generosity in our community," said Councillor Diane Holmes, Chair of Ottawa Community Housing. "We have a number of local families who live in shelters because they have no choice. The restoration of the Crichton Street building will give families an improved quality of life and new opportunity for self-sufficiency."

The building restoration committee was led by co-chair Richard Hayter, Ottawa Building and Construction Trades Council, and Ottawa City Councillor and co-chair Georges Bedard, an OCC Board member. The City donated the Crichton Street apartment complex and the land it sits on. The Province of Ontario and Government of Canada provided infrastructure and program funding, all to be operated through Ottawa Community Housing.

When the complex restoration is complete, after the OCC opens in April 2011, furnishings such as dishes, cutlery, beds and linens will be donated by the OCC and the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association.

"This project demonstrates the strength of community partnership," said Councillor Bedard. "When everyone comes to the table with expertise and supplies, and offers to help, communities grow richer and stronger immediately."

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