Kitchener Citizen - East Edition - July 2014
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KITCHENERS ORIGINAL COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
kitchenercitizen.com Circulation 30,000 Volume 6, Issue 3 Thursday, July 3, 2014
BY CARRIE DEBRONE
The former Notre Dame school property in Kitch-eners Rosemount neighbour-hood has a new developer in-terested in building on it.
About 150 people attended a meeting June 11 to hear rep-resentatives from Options for Homes, a non-profit develop-ment corporation, ask local residents for their ideas about how they think the property should be developed.
The six-acre site at 142 Rosemount Ave. in Kitchener, formerly housed Notre Dame Catholic School. The school was closed in June 2010. Op-tions for Homes representa-tives told the crowd that the separate school board sold the land to developer Jorge Cotez Jr. for $4-million. Cotez Jr. de-molished the school in 2012 to make way for a planned 49-unit subdivision that in-cluded single family and semi-detached homes.
According to Options for Homes architect Jim Fryett, the deal with Cotez Jr. fell through and the land is now owned by a local consortium. Options for Homes is inter-ested in developing the land and has an option to purchase the property an option that will remain valid until 2015.
Options for Homes is cur-rently the only developer in-terested in building on the lot.
Options for Homes was founded in 1993 by Michel Labb, who remains president and CEO. A social entrepre-
neur, Labb believes home ownership should be avail-able to everyone and to help achieve this his non-profit company offers buyers down payment loans, with the stip-ulation that they live in the condo they purchase until the loan is paid off.
If the development process started soon, company repre-sentatives said they expect it would take about two years to gain approval and for market-ing to begin, with hopes that construction could start in 2017. They estimated the cost of the condos would be be-tween $185,000 and $350,000, depending on their size.
Dont confuse us with low cost housing or subsidized housing, Were not. We build high quality, cost-effective homes, said Jan Ciuciura, head of Options for Homes Waterloo Region adding that the homes include many green and environmentally-friendly features and are constructed in partnership with several local builders including Ab-erdeen Homes, Cook Homes and East Forest Homes.
Kitchener councillor Scott Davey told the crowd Options for Homes has not yet submit-ted any site plans for develop-ment to the city.
Regardless of what hap-pens, this property will be de-veloped, he told residents.
I am encouraged by this developer. From the get go they wanted to meet with the neighbours, Davey said.
Ciuciura said that over 90 per cent of the condos his
company has built are owned by the people who live in them, unlike most other con-do developments in this area where over half are owned by investors who then rent out their units.
He said the condos most suited to the Rosemount parcel of land would appeal to older people wanting to downsize or to first time buy-ers who grew up in the local area and want to remain there.
He explained that some of the developments his com-pany has constructed are mid-rise style condos (four or five storeys) with underground parking and an elevator, while others are similar to stacked townhouses, two storeys high with smaller condo units on the bottom and larger ones on the top storey. The representa-tives said the developer is only interested in building condo-miniums, not rental units.
We can build bachelors to larger condo suites depending on what is needed and wanted in the neighbourhood, Ciuci-ura said.
Fryett explained the proper-ty would have to be rezoned, a development plan submitted to the city, and drainage, traf-fic and environmental studies done, before any kind of de-velopment could be consid-ered, but he said his company wanted to meet with neigh-bours to see what kind of de-velopment they would like to see there.
We could have insisted on whatever kind of devel-opment we chose and not
had this meeting and gone through the process that most developers use. They just go to the city and ram the project through, never asking any of the neighbours anything. But wed rather not do that, Ci-uciura said.
The decision to meet with neighbours pleased some at the meeting.
Which developer would you rather have? Someone who comes here and asks us
what we want or someone who doesnt ask? said resi-dent Mark Dunbar.
You have to work with a good developer, he said.
Others at the meeting were unsure, saying they believe the development would com-promise the community and change the character of the mostly single family home area, cause traffic problems and not encourage new fami-
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New developer wants to build condos on former Notre Dame School property in Kitchener
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Hopping Good TimeCousins Jaxon Niereisel, 4, and Lily Wright 6, race each other in potato sacks at the 3rd annual Tremaine Park family BBQ on June 28. Residents enjoyed playing games with their neighbours, while watching planes from the Waterloo Air Show soar overhead. They also collected donations for The Food Bank of Waterloo Region.
2 JULY 3, 2014 KITCHENER CITIZEN (EAST EDITION)
BY CARRIE DEBRONE
For 10 years, the Welcome Home Refugee Housing Community in Kitchener has helped refugees fleeing danger-ous home countries, with short-term housing and emotional and spiritual support when they arrive in Canada.
To celebrate Welcome
Homes success, local artist Pa-mela Rojas was hired to cre-ate a mural on the side wall of the centres building at 260 King Street East in Kitchener (above the former Morning Glory Caf).
Titled, Stories of New Begin-nings, the mural, depicts the experiences offered to refugees through Welcome Homes ten-year history. It was unveiled
with a ribbon cutting, tours of the facility and a reception on June 16, which coincided with World Refugee Day. It shows people of many different cul-tural backgrounds enjoying learning English, reading, camping, meeting other people in the community and playing music.
The colourful, $18,000 mural, which reaches about 21 feet up the side of the building and is 67 feet long, was painted over the last few months with the help of 145 volunteers.
The market neigbourhood has had its challenges and we wanted to brighten up the neighbourhood. We wanted to give back to this community, said Sharon Schmidt, director of the Welcome Home Refu-gee Community.
Schmidt explained that Wel-come Home, which receives no direct government funding, is supported by local churches and private donations. Its two apartments and seven single
rooms have housed 194 refu-gees in the last ten years. The centre provides short-term housing (up to a year) in the space it rents from Ray of Hope, which owns the building.
The world is full of heart-ache. We can pray for peace but we can also love refugees and help them when they come here, Schmidt said in the mu-ral dedication ceremony, add-ing, We provide a place to
come home to. When refugees come here
they dont know a soul and of-ten theyve been through trau-ma and tragedy. They can come here and feel like they have hope and be with people who care about them. We welcome them with friendship and allow them to make community con-nections.
Kitchener councillor Dan Glenn-Graham said the city wants to be a place that will welcome refugees, and said that according to the latest Vi-tal Signs report, the city is not as welcoming a place as it could be adding that the work of Wel-come Home and the new mural will help change that.
This mural has a special meaning spiritual and emo-tional, he said.
Art is a powerful and friend-ly tool, said Rojas, who added that she hopes the mural will engage people and be educa-tional, especially for youth.
Funds for the project were donated by the The Meeting House, Mennonite Savings and Credit Union, The Kitch-ener and Waterloo Community Foundation, United Way KW, KW AWEsome Foundation, Home Depot Canada Foun-dation, Ray of Hope, Lowes Canada, Battlefield Equipment Rentals and Elevation.
For more information on Welcome Home visit www.welcomhomekw.ca or call 519-568-8696.
Mural depicts help, experiences offered to refugees by Kitcheners Welcome Home
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A new mural titled, Stories of New Beginnings, depicting the experiences offered to refugees through Kitcheners Welcome Homes ten-year history, was unveiled with a ribbon cutting,
tours of the facility and a reception on June 16. The event coincided with Wo