Breaking ground: A new place to live, work, learn, play and grow
- NC Raine | June 12, 2023
Groundbreaking has taken place for a new affordable housing unit in the west side of Saskatoon, where the foundation is being laid to create something more than just roofs over people’s heads.
“There’s far more to this commitment than creating a building. This is a commitment to real people,” said Senator David Arnot, who has served as the Chief Commissioner for the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission since 2009.
“This vision for these homes is to create an accommodation for people who have a commitment, and feel a real responsibility, for every other person living in the complex and surrounding community.”
The housing project is being built by SaskNative Rentals, the largest Indigenous housing entity in Saskatchewan, and their sister company, Camponi Housing, who are calling the project their most “progressive build” in their 50-year history.
When complete, the housing project, located on Hart Road in Blairmore, Saskatoon, will have 164 homes over a total residential space of 142,453 square feet, including mobility accessible residences, retail and office space, and public spaces.
Phase one of the project will provide 73 new homes, including 17 accessible homes, representing a $40 million investment in the community.
“We are building a community, a place where residents can live, work, learn, play, grow, and thrive. A place where the amenities, including shopping, childcare, and employment opportunities, were paramount in choosing this location,” said Dean Fetch, SaskNative Rentals and Camponi Housing Board Chair.
The community will also have various in-house supports and an on-site daycare to assist the tenants in meeting their basic needs.
David Kirton, City Councillor for Ward 3, where the housing project is located, spoke on the community-centred approach engrained in the project since its inception.
“The way this community was designed has got to be the most inclusive process I have ever witnessed. It was an amazing effort,” he said.
“They got people form the community, people who might end up living in this community, and they all sat down around tables together and designed this community. The result will be one of the most accessible communities in Saskatoon,” said Kirton.
Camponi Housing and SaskNative Rentals own and maintain 338 homes in Saskatoon through various affordable rental programs. But they report large waiting lists of families searching for adequate housing.
As such, MLA Lisa Lambert said the Government of Saskatchewan is committing $1.7 million to the project, which she said will help address some of those housing needs.
“This is an important step in achieving our goals of increasing housing supply, improving housing affordability, and supporting individuals and families as they plan for the future and build a life in their community,” said Lambert.
Nora Cummings, who has spent her career supporting women and families, reflected on when she was young, living on the road allowance in tents and shacks, and attending day school, and, ultimately, the significance of where these homes are being built.
“This is a land of our people, it’s sacred land. Our people had to suffer for many years. They worked hard. We didn’t know what social welfare was,” she said.
“And today I stand before you and say thank you.”
The new development is set to be ready for families to move in at the end of 2025.'