Building Hope Gets Financial Commitment

By John Swartz

Adam Vaughan, MP Spadina-Fort York, was in Orillia Friday morning to announce a “financial commitment” of $6.3 million through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for the construction of Building Hope.

Vaughan is parliamentary secretary to Jean-Yves Duclos, the minister of families, children and social development and was representing the minster at a press conference e held at the Common Roof.

The Building Hope committee has been back and forth with Orillia council about the CMHC grant and a condition placed on the committee to ask development charges be funded by the City instead of Building Hope. It will be on the May 6 agenda for a decision.

Orillia councillor Pat Hehn represented Mayor Steve Clarke who is out of town on business. When asked if the announcement by Vaughan will have any effect on council’s decision, she did not have a firm perspective.

“We’re still waiting to have a meeting with the County and the people from Building Hope,” Hehn said.

Vaughan said the money is committed.

“It green lights this project, gets shovels in the ground, which not only will house people, but get people to work,” Vaughan said.

“I would hope this creates a path for the City to delay the development charges.”

Building Hope co-chair, Glenn Wagner, thought the announcement was a good endorsement of the project.

“It shows the level of commitment from the federal government and the CMHC. They understand what we are trying to do, and they know our business case is a good one,” said Wagner. Whether it will produce a favourable result May 6 at council is another matter, and he believes there is wiggle room with the CMHC if the development charges are not removed from the project’s responsibility.

“Any of the conditions, to my understanding the CMHC has given us, we can, depending on other decisions that are made, negotiate with CMHC to see how we can either meet those conditions, or alter them slightly,” said Wagner.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia) Glenn Wagner being congratulated by MP Adam Vaughan on securing $6.3 million of funding for Building Hope


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