Affordable, supportive housing proposed for Osborne Village
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A new proposal in Osborne Village aims to create affordable and supportive housing units for people with mental health issues.
Two four-storey buildings with a combined 51 units would be constructed at 90 Wellington Cres. and 586/588 River Ave. if approved by city council. It would include 20 supportive, affordable homes.
In a report, city planners recommend that council approve the application.
“The proposal aligns with (the) OurWinnipeg 2045 (planning document) goals to… support a continuum of affordable and supportive housing in the city,” it notes.
In a letter to the city, property owner Cambridge Health says it would provide non-medical, community home care support for adults aged 50 to 65 “who display complex behaviours, such as people who have complex mental health conditions.”
The proposal includes a kitchen to serve those living in the supportive housing units.
The plan is unique in that it devotes a large portion of the units to affordable homes for people with mental health challenges, the developer said.
“Most of the clients are lower income clients so it kind of solves both those needs,” said Geoff Milnes, president of PRE Developments.
The plan includes the two buildings, a walkway and 33 parking stalls (mostly underground), indoor bike parking and a car-share vehicle.
Both buildings would have elevators, common rooms and fitness facilities, said Milnes.
The site would support the city’s infill goals by providing homes within a short walk of key services, and enhance the corner lot itself, he said.
“It’s a very prominent corner in Winnipeg (and) we think the design is of high quality. It has Tyndall stone, aluminum and glass-curtain wall elements, which will really accentuate that curve,” he said.
The city centre community committee is expected to cast the first vote on the proposal on April 25. It would require full council approval.
Property and development chairwoman Sherri Rollins declined to comment on the proposal Friday while attending meetings on behalf of the city.
Jino Distasio, a professor of urban geography at the University of Winnipeg, said there is a clear need for infill and affordable housing in Winnipeg.
“What we need to keep doing is thinking, really, in innovative ways (about) how we can build more affordable housing and do so in a manner that is responsible and reflective of the local neighbourhood’s vision, but also pushes us to rethink and reimagine the design of our neighbourhoods,” said Distasio.
It can be challenging for developers to meet those goals at times, depending on how the community responds, he said.
“(This plan) will be definitely reviewed quite closely in the Village. They’ve certainly had a track record of being quite vocal in the kinds of designs and interventions that we’ve seen in the Osborne Village area over the years so I would expect that to occur again,” said Distasio.
The area has one of the most unique “mix and match of residential types and densities” of any community in Winnipeg, he noted.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find another neighbourhood as unique as the Village with respect to that mix of density.”
The plan would require existing buildings on the site to be demolished.
The city report says a 2021 building inspection found the existing River Avenue properties are beyond repair and should be demolished as soon as possible.
It notes the 586 River Ave. property was also hit by a bus in 2022, which caused further damage.
If council approves the project, the proponents hope to finish construction by spring 2025.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.
Updated on Friday, March 17, 2023 6:15 PM CDT: Corrects direction from Osborne Village