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Public meeting to outline how former Duke Dome site will become affordable housing

Having sat empty, deteriorating for many years, the former Duke Dome, original home to the Wellington Dukes junior hockey team, will finally see the site revitalized solely for the purpose of bringing affordable housing to Wellington.

Details of the proposed re-development will be outlined at an in-person public information meeting this Wednesday (July 13) at 7pm at the Wellington and District Community Centre at 111 Belleville Road, Wellington.

Described as an “infill” development, the site at 230 Niles Street in Wellington will feature a mix of housing options and densities, to include a four-storey apartment building, plus four two-storey townhouses, for a total of 40 units.

The apartment building’s 36 units will be geared 100 per cent toward affordable housing, while the four townhouses proposed will be market rental housing intended to incentivize medical professionals to relocate and work in Prince Edward County.

While preliminary outlines and ideas over the past few years proposed to retain and re-purpose the former Duke Dome, fans of the familiar facility may be disappointed to learn the building will be demolished to be replaced by the new four-storey apartment building, in the approximate location of the former arena.

“The proposed apartment building is proposed to maintain a similar building height and placement to the existing arena,” noted Ruth Ferguson Aulthouse with RFA Planning Consultant, in her report. “The apartment is shifted westerly towards Lane Creek to maximize the separation distance between the apartment and existing low-density residential uses to the east.”

Currently owned by the Prince Edward County Affordable Housing Corporation, who purchased the site from the municipality several years ago, plans have been in the works for a few years to re-develop the site where progress has been slow, hindered also by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The not-for-profit PEC Affordable Housing Corporation was created by the County in an attempt to address the lack of affordable housing options and supply. The proposed Niles Street development will be managed by the PEC Affordable Housing Corporation.

The application process will consider site plan control and an application to rezone lands from “I” zone (Institutional) to R3-XX (Special Urban Residential Type 3). An Official Plan amendment is not required because the proposed development falls within the village residential area, where intensification is encouraged.

The proposed development has a density of 54 units per net hectare, which is higher than the preferred residential target for residential intensification, according to the report.

The site will be serviced by municipal water and sanitary sewer services. A parking lot of 68 parking spaces (to be located behind the apartment building and townhouses) is proposed, three of which will be barrier-free. Three spaces of the 68 are to be for visitor parking.

Proposed for the apartment building will be mix of unit types consisting of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, including eight accessible units – all with balconies or patios.

Additional amenities such as a laundry room, party room, bicycle storage, community garden, a trail and landscaped area are to be provided for occupants’ use.

The four-unit townhouse block, to front onto Maple Street, will all have three-bedrooms plus one den (one barrier-free unit of the four is proposed), and all townhouse units will include a one-car garage plus one uncovered parking space.

Rental rates for the apartment units will conform to CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) guidelines, meaning rents charged will be at least 20 per cent below the CMHC median market rent.

CMHC is currently reviewing and revising its median market rent data; however, for the immediate time, the maximum monthly rents based on the existing data would be: Bachelor – studio $925; one bedroom $1,100; two bedroom $1,150 and three bedroom, $1,500.

“Given the current market conditions and pressures that have been experienced as a result of the global pandemic, the average market rents in the County have exponentially increased, and are considerably higher than the CMHC median market rent,” noted Ferguson Aulthouse.

Availability will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, as well as through referrals via community agencies. The idea is rentals will be geared to long-term rentals, and not short-term rental agreements of less than 12 months.

Targeted demographics for the apartment units will be seniors on a fixed income, as well as low-income families, single parent households, singles, new immigrants, and persons with disabilities.

“Specific project developments will not be targeted solely to one demographic,” stated Ferguson Aulthouse. “Rather, the affordable units to be developed are not targeted to working professionals or individuals/families who wish to solely relocate to the County to take advantage of working remotely and further take advantage of lower occupancy costs compared to large metropolitan centres.”

An element of the criteria for occupancy (currently being reviewed) is a maximum income component to ensure that affordable housing is made available to the intended targeted demographic.

The in-person public information meeting will take place on Wednesday, July 13 at 7 p.m. at the Wellington and District Community Centre, 111 Belleville Street.

Planning documents pertaining to this application can be found on the County’s website.

Filed Under: Local News

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