Ongoing commitment to the Heron Gate community remains undeterred
OTTAWA, September 27, 2019 -- Timbercreek Asset Management today filed their response to the Complaints filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO). The response emphatically denies the actions and allegations brought forward by the complainants and affirms Timbercreek’s continuing pledge of inclusive community building in Heron Gate, Ottawa.
“While we respect the rights of the individuals to pursue legal challenges through due process, we feel the current case before the HRTO is without merit, and this has been carefully laid out in our response,” said Ugo Bizzarri, Chief Investment Officer, Timbercreek Asset Management. “We welcome the chance to share the thinking behind the difficult decision we made in the interest of resident safety and contributing to the future sustainability of the community,” Mr. Bizzarri continues.
Timbercreek’s long-term vision for the Heron Gate community began in 2012 with their acquisition of the former Minto Communities development originally built in the 1960s. Over the past seven years, Timbercreek has invested over $50 million into the Heron Gate community on improvements to structural components of the properties, ongoing maintenance, amenity spaces and in-suite improvements.
After careful consideration, Timbercreek determined that a portion of the existing housing, mostly wood framed townhomes, had deteriorated to the point that they should be demolished to ensure resident safety, dignity and comfort. Timbercreek understands that this decision caused unexpected change for residents of those townhomes as they were notified of the need to relocate due to the impending redevelopment. Timbercreek sought to support residents through the difficult transition by employing a dedicated, hands-on relocation team to assist in finding suitable homes within the existing or neighbouring communities, understanding the importance of proximity to existing social networks and vital amenities.
In February of 2019, Timbercreek’s commitment to the Heron Gate community was further outlined in their Social Framework which highlighted the following:
- No further demolition of occupied units unless residents can relocate to newly constructed equivalent units at the same rent.
- Up to 20 per cent of new units at Heron Gate will be built as affordable units, which represents a significant increase in net new affordable housing in the Heron Gate neighbourhood.
- A wide diversity of housing that meets the needs of the community’s social fabric including one, two, three-plus bedroom family-style units.
- A commitment to enriching social enterprise within Heron Gate. Timbercreek has created training and employment opportunities by hiring students for summer jobs, are providing meeting spaces at no cost for community and youth organizations, have made significant contributions to the local Boys and Girls Club program at Ridgemont High School, along with supporting other social and recreational activities.
- A commitment to green space that provides recreation and environmental benefits for Heron Gate residents.
In April 2019, after extensive community consultations, Timbercreek filed their secondary plan proposal for the Heron Gate development with the City of Ottawa. Within the submission, Timbercreek outlines the future vision of Heron Gate and the guiding principles for creating and sustaining an inclusive and vibrant community.
“With current housing shortages in the City of Ottawa, we believe the Heron Gate development helps fulfill the demand for much needed housing—including affordable options— and will be one of the most highly sought places to live,” said Mr. Bizzarri. “Our long-term commitment to this community remains a priority as we move through the planning process.”
For more information about the development plans for Heron Gate please visit www.herongatecommunity.com
Founded in 1999, Timbercreek Asset Management is an active investor, owner and manager of global real estate and related assets. Timbercreek Communities is a leading operator of multi-family residential communities with experience in six provinces and over 30 cities across Canada.
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