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Ottawa investing $7.3M in new 24-unit Whistler staff housing project

Cheakamus Crossing development will add 53 rental beds to community
An artist's rendering of a new 24-unit staff housing project slated for 1020 Legacy Way in Cheakamus Crossing. Image submitted

The federal government has announced it will invest $7.3 million in a new 24-unit staff rental housing building in Cheakamus Crossing as part of Ottawa’s National Housing Strategy.

The four-storey development is planned for 1020 Legacy Way and will include four studio, 13 one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom units. The Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) project will add 53 beds to the community’s housing stock.

All of the homes will meet affordable housing criteria, and 17 units will have rental rates “well below 30 per cent of the area’s median household incomes,” according to a federal government release. The formula to determine rental rates will be maintained for at least a 50-year period.*

“The municipality recognizes the importance of housing our community’s workforce locally to ensure we have a vibrant and successful community. Providing access for our workforce to a range of attainable housing options continues to be a challenge and priority for our government,” read a statement from Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton.

“Thank you to the Government of Canada for recognizing the continued need for housing in our community and providing funding measures to help us continue to meet our goal of housing 75 percent of our workforce locally.”

Managed by WHA, the development will hew to Passive House building standards and is designed to achieve energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions of 43 per cent, relative to 2015 model building codes.

The federal funds come from Canada’s Rental Construction Financing initiative (RCFi) and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Affordable Housing Innovation Fund.

“The Whistler Housing Authority is excited and very appreciative to receive this funding from the federal government through the National Housing Strategy and CMHC for one of Whistler’s newest affordable housing initiatives. This funding and support by the federal government improves the affordability of the project, which will provide 53 new affordable rental beds for Whistler’s workforce,” said Marla Zucht, general manager of WHA, in the release. “Whistler is committed to actively confronting housing affordability in our community by creating affordable housing that is price and occupancy restricted to our local workforce. As the continued owner of the building, we know that we'll be able to realize operational savings through the reduced energy costs of Passive House construction.”

The RCFi, a National Housing Strategy initiative administered by CMHC, supports affordable rental housing projects in an effort to “encourage a stable supply of affordable rental housing for middle-class families struggling in expensive housing markets across the country,” the release stated.

A press conference about the new project is scheduled for 11 a.m. at 1020 Legacy Way in Cheakamus and will be attended by Crompton, Zucht and Sea to Sky federal MP Pam Goldsmith-Jones.

Check back with Pique for more on this developing story.

*An earlier version of this article stated that the rental rates for the new housing project will be maintained for at least a 50-year period, based on information provided by the federal government. In a follow-up email, WHA general manager Marla Zucht clarified that the rates will change, but the same formula used to determine rent will remain the same over that period.