Building – General
1. How will the building be configured?
The building will be six storeys. There will be parking at the basement and ground floors. The second floor, part of the podium, will contain office space, building administration and services such as education and counselling. The tower will include a mix of office/administration space and residential units on the 3rd floor. Floors 4 to 6 of the tower will contain residential units. There will be a total of 40 residences – all bachelor units.
2. What outdoor amenity space will the tenants have access to?
There will be one outdoor terrace for clients at the top of the third- floor podium, facing Bell St. South.
There will also be some outdoor amenity space for staff in the form of a terrace at the top of the third-floor podium, east of the tower (beside the Lakelander condominium). For this terrace, smoking will not be permitted.
3. We have had other sites zoned for a particular height, but the developers were able to build much higher. Will the building be taller than is currently promised?
The site is zoned for 9 stories. JHS current plans fall well within current zoning and there are no plans to request zoning variances. While there may be small changes to the building design as part of the site plan approval process from what was initially presented in the concept drawings, the number of stories is not expected to change.
4. If the John Howard Society wanted to increase the number of stories later, would the building structure be able to accommodate that?
The Building’s Structure will be designed to be able to support just the designed 3 + 4 stories.
Designing the structure to support more stories is theoretically possible, but it would come with extra costs which is not affordable for JHS at this time. The JHS has no plans to add floors to this building.
5. What about the top of the building – will there be air conditioners, elevators or major equipment that are noisy or unsightly on top of the sixth-floor tower?
Equipment to be located on the rooftop: Dry cooler, Generator, and Make-up air unit. According to the Stationary Noise Assessment, “noise levels at nearby points of reception are expected to fall below the ENCG noise criteria at all receptors” and “the proposed development is expected to be compatible with the existing off-site noise sensitive land uses”.
The elevator will be machineless and the control room will be located in the basement.
6. How much parking will be on site?
There will be 29 parking spots over two levels – one at grade, and one below. None of the parking spots will be outside, surface parking. Zoning requires 27 parking spaces, given the number of apartment units and office square footage. The John Howard Society believes that all planned parking spots will be required – for both staff and residents.
7. Will there be a common kitchen/eating area?
The units will be set up like any other apartment units – with kitchens. The tenants are expected to function independently, which includes being able to cook their own food. There will be one small kitchen for life skills programming.
Tenants and Services
1. What kind of tenants are expected?
JHS will work in partnership with the City of Ottawa and other key partners to support individuals from a centralized priority list who require supportive housing. The support model established in the Request for Proposal is for individuals who would be successful with moderate levels of on-site support, and that have a level of stability that allows them to live in their own self-contained apartment units.
Generally speaking, priority housing is for those who are chronically homeless. This refers to people, 18 years of age and older, who have been living without stable accommodation for six months or more. Federal and provincial homelessness priorities are also taken into account. Provincial priority categories include youth homelessness, Indigenous homelessness, and homelessness following transitions from institutions such as hospitals and prisons.
2. How will the John Howard Society assess which tenants are able to live independently?
JHS and the tenants have an opportunity to meet and discuss whether or not this supportive housing location would be a good match for them. This is always prior to move-in and before formal leases or ‘commitments to reside agreements’ are in place.
3. Given that the tenants are selected from the city’s priorities, what happens if the city’s priorities change?
The city has a 35-year contract with the John Howard Society, so the type of tenants is expected to remain consistent. The model also reflects the priorities of the federal government and province, so a dramatic shift in expected clientele isn’t likely.
4. Will the tenants pay rent?
Yes. They pay rent with support from Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program, or through employment income.
5. Will the tenants be male or female?
The plan is for the site to be co-ed with males and females residing at this location.
6. Will all residents have a criminal record?
This is not a designated building for people with criminal records. Some may have a criminal record, although it’s not a requirement to be able to live in the building.
7. Will the John Howard Society monitor the off-site activities of residents?
The residents are part of the community, and as such may use the area parks, shop at the stores, and in general have the same rights and privileges as other community members. However, if members of the community witness problematic behaviour from the tenants, they are urged to let the John Howard Society know. JHS wants to work with the community to ensure successful integration with this building into the neighbourhood, so our site manager will want to collaborate proactively with community members.
8. What can be done with problematic tenants?
These tenants are subject to the Residential Tenancies Act. As such, they can be evicted if they have problematic behaviour that cannot be resolved by counselling and other interventions. However, the John Howard Society sees this as a last resort – the tenants are struggling already, and by evicting them, they will once again become homeless.
9. What types of behaviours can lead to a tenant being evicted – problematic behaviour with John Howard Society staff or within the building, or can persistent behaviour in the community – whether panhandling, doing drugs, etc.?
According to the Residential Tenancies Act, tenants can be evicted for a number of reasons, including illegal activity, affecting the safety of others, not paying rent, or overcrowding. For more information, see “About Ending a Tenancy” in the guide on the Residential Tenancies Act.
10. Will tenants be allowed to smoke?
It’s too early to say – some John Howard Society’s buildings are smoke-free, others are not. However, if smoking is permitted, it would be allowed both in individual units and in public spaces such as terraces.
11. What will the turnover be like?
The site is expected to provide long-term housing. Tenants could expect to remain in this building from a few months to a number of years, depending on their particular circumstances. Because these units are designed for individuals and not families, some people will move out when they want to have a family, for instance. Other tenants might move from supportive housing such as this to affordable housing or other housing market options.
12. How will you keep the tenants occupied so they won’t loiter in the community?
The site design has common space and programming for tenants to enjoy recreational and social activities within the building. For example, activities such as art, bingo and meditation are offered at some of our housing locations. The residents will also take part in educational and training services on-site. The tenants also have access to all community amenity spaces like any other resident, and will be encouraged to integrate into the community by enjoying such spaces, as many vulnerable individuals feel a sense of isolation. JHS will work with tenants who are struggling and/or displaying concerning behaviour.
13. Where are people going to go for groceries, health care, the pharmacy, etc.?
We realize that many common amenities aren’t within walking distance and most tenants will use public transit to fulfil these needs. We also work in partnership with tenants who require added supports such as accessing local food banks.
14. Do you give our needles or other drug paraphernalia or condoms to residents or visitors?
Our sites have a variety of contraceptive and medical harm-reduction supports in place, depending on the locations and the care-model. This location does not plan to have tenants who require intensive medical intervention.
15. Is there a model you can point to with similar supports or clientele?
Every housing site has its own nuances with clientele and staffing models. There is no exact replica that JHS can point to.
16. What other programs/services will the John Howard Society be offering out of the 289 Carling Avenue location?
Apart from the 40 units of supportive housing, the John Howard Society will relocate its main office, and it is expected that those functions and services will migrate to the Carling location. These include:
Pre-employment and training: This includes a variety of programming such as literacy support, employment, training and counselling, as well as a full school/educational program. There is also art therapy.
The John Howard Society will also have some on-site crisis support staff for short-term assistance. This assistance can range from helping someone set up a bank account to suicide prevention. There is currently one staff member performing this function. This position is paid by the Ottawa United Way.
There may be some accountability services at this location. This could include anger management that is imposed as part of a court or employer condition. Other individuals may come to the site to report to a bail worker. (While these people are generally not economically disadvantaged, they have found themselves in conflict with the law.)
It should be noted that, given that the Society is government funded, these services can shift over time.
17. How many non-residents are expected to use the site for training, education or support?
Currently, there are approximately 30-40 individuals a day visiting the John Howard Society to access educational programs. There are also 30-50 individuals attending individual appointments. This means that in total, on average, 60-90 non-residents come to the building for services each day.
18. How many hours a day are these services provided?
Programs and appointments generally run from 8 am to 4:30 pm each day. Additionally, the site is expected to be open a few evenings a week to provide education and other services. The building may also be used in the evenings to hold staff meetings. JHS is also open to other community groups utilizing its common spaces.
19. Will the people coming to access the day services be loitering in the area before or after their education, training or appointments?
That has not been the experience of the current headquarters building and is not expected to be the case here. All of these programs are scheduled – they are not done on a drop-in basis. We expect that people come for a specific service and leave on completion.
20. How do you expect these daily clients will access the location?
Clients are expected to come by any available mode of transport – walking, biking, public transit, or by driving. Generally, public transit is the most common mode of transportation.
21. What staff will be on the site?
There are expected to be a total of 30-40 office staff in total, although not all will be on site simultaneously. This includes administrative staff such as finance, human resources, property management, etc.
A number of the staff using 289 Carling as their home base will actually be part of mobile teams who work in the community. They primarily work with people in their own homes but will use the building as their office space when required. This can be to do administration, or to see clients.
Finally, staff conducting the day services, such education, training and counselling, will be based out of this building.
1. What is the plan for building construction?
Construction is now underway. The site plan was approved on August 22nd, 2020, with the first of the permits required to allow construction approved on December 2nd, 2020. Construction activities on the site started on December 3rd, 2020.
Major milestones to date included:
- Site Plan Application* – posted Aug 29th, 2019
- Site Plan approval – August 22nd, 2020
- Construction commenced – December 3rd, 2020
*Note: The site plan application can be found on the city’s website: https://app01.ottawa.ca/postingplans/appDetails.jsf?lang=en&appId=__BNOZNV
2. What soil remediation is required?
Environmental testing on the site found a number of contaminants that exceeded what are considered to be safe levels. These include, for instance, arsenic, barium, chromium, lead, molybdenum, silver, zinc, mercury and benzene. Contaminated soils will be removed and disposed of according to regulations. Remediation is expected to take approximately two weeks, at the beginning of construction activities.
An environmental engineer will be on site during remediation to address any issues that may arise. If any action is required by neighbours, they will be notified.
3. What are the dates expected for construction?
Construction started in December 2020, and is expected to be completed in December 2021. The use of a modular construction method for the tower, where that portion of the building is built off-site and assembled on location, allows for a quicker build process. This method will save approximately 8 months of on-site construction time, which will mean much less disturbance to the neighbourhood.
4. Will the blasting required to make way for underground parking damage nearby buildings?
No, the pre-excavation survey determined that blasting will not be required as part of this project.
5. Will there be compensation provided if any nearby buildings are damaged? How will that be determined?
Given that blasting is not required, there is no expectation that nearby buildings will be damaged during construction. However, should any occur, this will be determined by the pre and post construction surveys. Pre-construction surveys were completed in early 2020.
6. Will residents be blocked from accessing roads, driveways or parking garages during construction?
Where possible, all work will take place within the 289 Carling site. However, if any road closures are required for things such as cement trucks and larger deliveries or equipment, permits will be requested and neighbours will be notified in advance.
7. What kind of measures are planned during construction to reduce noise and minimize impact on the neighbourhood?
Construction will be in compliant with Ottawa’s Noise By-Law 2017-255. Because this lot is within an existing built-up area in the city, infill bylaws apply, which are more restrictive.
Infill construction is not permitted:
- Weekdays: Between 8 pm and 7 am
- Weekends and holidays: Between 7 pm and 9 am
8. Where will construction workers and suppliers park? Which roads will they be using?
There is an encroachment permit in place, for the use of the Bell sidewalk and one lane of the street. This will be used for site trailers, deliveries and concrete trucks.
9. Why were all the trees removed?
The site needs to be excavated nearly to the lot lines. Thus, none of the site’s trees were able to be salvaged. However, the hedge at the north edge of the property is expected to remain. New landscaping has been proposed for the site as part of Site Plan Application. This includes shrubs along Bell St. South and Carling Ave, as well as planting new trees along Carling Ave.
10. How did this property come to be designated for a John Howard Society project?
In the fall of 2018, the City ran a Request for Proposal process to select a proponent to build and operate a supportive housing project. In January 2019, the city selected the John Howard Society as the winning bid.