County of Simcoe Council has approved plans to move forward on the significant development of the new County Orillia Campus at the former Orillia District Collegiate Vocational Institute (ODCVI) site, purchased by the County in 2018. The County's Orillia Campus development will be a multi-generational, mixed-use hub containing affordable housing, community services, and County supportive services.
The County's Orillia Campus will result in a significant portion of the affordable housing targets being achieved for the overall area including the City of Orillia, and Townships of Oro-Medonte, Ramara, and Severn, and will benefit the broader neighbourhood by helping to alleviate barriers to accessing essential community and social services, with a variety of support programs provided on one site.
The campus approach provides efficiencies and economies of scale through the inclusion of affordable housing units (rent based on 80 per cent of average market rates), combined with significant commercial/office space for rent/lease. This campus rent/lease formula combined with asset management strategies, results in an estimated annual net benefit of approximately $800,000 in annual reserve contributions. In addition, the campus' operational sustainability includes the combination of quality building materials and practices, as well as accounting for the necessary capital reserve, ensuring that the building will not require additional investment for the next 50 years.
Across the region, the demand for affordable housing has been identified in the County's 10-Year Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention Strategy. The Strategy's goal is to achieve 2,685 affordable housing units by 2024. As of December 31, 2019, a total of approximately 1,900 affordable housing units have been created county-wide. The general target for the creation of affordable housing units identified in the Strategy for the City of Orillia, and the Townships of Oro-Medonte, Ramara and Severn is a total of 392 units. At the start of 2020, approximately 220 new units had already been achieved.
County's Orillia Campus Quick Facts:
- The Campus will include approximately 130 Simcoe County Housing Corporation (SCHC) affordable mixed units for seniors, families and individuals
Update (June 3, 2020)In January, Council approved extending a Request for Proposal (RFP) for architectural design firms. The contract was awarded for a feasibility study, site plan and conceptual design, seeking input from staff and stakeholders, including the City of Orillia, along the way.
- Approximately 46 units are multi-bedroom units targeted to families, and the balance of the units are 1-bedroom and studio units
- All 1-bedroom and studio units follow a universal design for aging in place
- A common room for tenants with adjacent rooftop amenity area, including planter box gardens, is planned
- Rent maximums will be set at an average across the development of no more than 80% of Average Market Rent
- Community and Social Services space will house County services including Ontario Works, Children and Community Services, and Social Housing, and community partners, such as Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions, EarlyON Child and Family Centre, and a Licensed Child Care Centre
- The proposed building inclusive of affordable housing and commercial/office space is 216,000 sq. ft.
- The proposed commercial/office space footprint is approximately 60,000 sq. ft.
- The compact building placement ensures the remainder of the parcel is available for future use
- The project is anticipated to cost $79 million between 2020 and 2022, including funding from municipal partners, the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative
- Affordable Housing estimated cost: $57 million
- Commercial/office space estimated cost: $22 million
- The campus rent/lease formula, combined with asset management strategies, result in an estimated a net benefit of approximately $800,000 in reserve contributions
- The project's operational sustainability includes the combination of quality building materials and practices, as well as accounting for the necessary capital reserve, ensuring that the building will not require additional investment for the next 50 years
- The County and its funding partners have invested in significant affordable housing builds in the last two years:
- Collingwood (2018/2019): $40 million – includes 147 units and approximately 12,000 sq. ft of commercial / office space
- Wasaga Beach (2019/2020): $27 million – includes 99 units and no commercial/office space
- Victoria Harbour (under development): $13.5 million – includes 41 units and no commercial/office space
- The County is also pursuing opportunities for affordable housing developments in Barrie and the southern part of Simcoe County as near-future projects
- Design incorporates proven technologies for efficiencies in electricity, power and water consumption, including new standards set out by the County's sustainable energy policy and teams
- The design will ensure efficient use of the land and will be strongly rooted in good urban planning and design practices, in collaboration with City of Orillia
- Common space allows for a safe gathering place, respectful of distancing requirements, and offers associated social and mental health benefits
- It will also incorporate some historical elements from former ODCVI and respect past traditions
- The existing arboretum will be preserved
- The County is taking a 'shovel ready' approach, working to have plans, studies and approvals prepared in order to be in an optimal position to receive potential additional funding opportunities
- Construction is anticipated to start in late spring or early summer of 2021
On June 23, a detailed report for the County's Orillia community hub development, titled - County Orillia Campus Project, will be presented to County Council for review. The report will provide an overview of the preliminary design and costing, and seek approval for next steps for the campus-like development including proceeding with the required planning approvals, public and stakeholder engagement, detailed design and cost analysis.
Updates will continue to be posted on the County's website as the project progresses. Pending County Council’s direction, further design work will continue and community engagement will occur through available participation methods, including virtual town hall style meetings as needed. More details will be provided in the coming months regarding engagement opportunities.
In spring/summer 2019, a consultation process was undertaken regarding the feasibility and need of a community hub on the former Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute (ODCVI) property in Orillia. Based on input from 678 community members and organizations, a compelling vision has emerged of a vibrant, diverse and inclusive regional service hub that provides affordable housing options for seniors and other mixed income households, helps to alleviate the barriers to accessing essential community and social services for residents, and creates a sense of inclusion.
The County's Orillia Campus will include affordable housing and community services, as well as County corporate services, intended to meet the diverse needs and services of the community and surrounding areas. Estimated to be built by 2022/23, and will likely include approximately 130 affordable mixed units for seniors, families and individuals, an Ontario Works, Children and Community Services, and Housing office, an Ontario Works programming room, leasable space for community agencies to rent, a licensed child-care site, a communal room and kitchen, and meeting space. Other large anchor tenants in the health or children's services sector will also be considered.
Additional studies and ongoing community engagement with area partners will occur throughout the project. Stay tuned for more information on the campus development.
If you have any further questions in regards to the County Orillia Campus project, please contact us at CountyOrilliaCampus@simcoe.ca.
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