This week’s fire in the Glebe was tragic, seven businesses lost their home and 50 people have lost employment. There will be a rebuild, the owners of the building say it will rise again, as it was – a one-story building.
But should it stay the same? Isn’t there a case for more? Not a multi floor condo building but how about there now being a case for affordable rental units, somewhere to provide a home for singles, mothers with children and families?
When first built in the 70’s, our housing landscape was much different than it is now. Ottawa was a sleepy National Capital where the streets did roll up at 6pm. Today and 40 years later Ottawa is vibrant and now there is much activity late into the evening. As the city grew it attracted many people as a place to live. As populations grow, so do the pressures of housing, homelessness and poverty. Today there are 10,000 people on a waiting list for affordable housing.
The Glebe in the last few decades has also seen a transformation, especially with TD Place and Lansdowne Park now in place.
40 years later there is a higher demand for affordable housing that needs to be met. Local initiatives like “Broadening the Base” are good partnerships for the owners of the burned out building. The City of Ottawa also has programs that assist the private sector in creating affordable spaces. It becomes even more enticing for the City to be involved in since recent announcement that 10’s of Millions of dollars are coming to Ottawa from Queens Park to create spaces and help eliminate homelessness. Build into the equation that there are several top notch not for profit organizations that would be excellent partners for George Halel and Sam Bellama to fill these units.
While George and Sam have balked at the suggestion of apartments, they also call the Glebe a good community. It’s a good community that needs new low rent units that can help others that need a good community. I think that the idea of adding more to the a good community is something that Messer’s Bellama and Halel need to seriously consider. Working with Capital Ward Councillor David Chernushenko may result with a quick approval of plans through the planning process and construction so that the businesses can be back home, but also so others might have a new one.
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