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Clairvue Co-op launches expansion

Published October 21, 2020

Guests at the official opening, from l-r: April Rietdyk, Community Human Services; Don Shropshire, Municipality of Chatham-Kent; FatimaTaylor, Clairvue Board; Darrin Canniff, Mayor of Chatham-Kent; The Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Housing; Rick Nicholls, MPP Chatham-Kent-Leamington; Renée Kominek, Clairvue Manager; Ray Harper, Housing Services Director; Sarah Gall, Clairvue President.

The seed of an idea to expand was planted at the 2018 CHF Canada Annual Meeting in Victoria.  Last month, the idea bore fruit when Clairvue Co-operative Housing in Chatham, ON celebrated the opening of eight new units.

With a committed co-op board and manager, Clairvue took advantage of every opportunity to make this dream a reality.

Clairvue’s new units during construction

Manager Renée Kominek remembers, “When a board member and I came out of a workshop on the National Housing Strategy, we were stoked!” They reported back to their board who made development a goal. When the right opportunity came along, they were ready.

All levels of government were involved in making this happen. Clairvue answered a request for proposals from the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, which also provided timely advice and approvals. The project received funding through the federal-provincial Investment in Affordable Housing program.

As a pilot project, CHF Canada provided technical expertise and support through Melissa Estable, Manager of Co-operative Housing Development.

Clairvue threw its support behind this project:

  • members voted unanimously in favour of the expansion. “They were eager to help with the region’s need for more affordable housing,” says Renée.
  • Clairvue arranged a loan with the London Community Foundation
  • Clairvue contributed land, $30,000, and time and expertise of their manager (Renée used her supplier contacts to negotiate price reductions, and saved valuable time.)

A vital part of the project’s success was the co-op itself. They remained committed through every hiccup.

The interior of one of Clairvue’s new units

CHF Canada’s Denise McGahan, Program Manager, Co-op and Planning Services for Southwestern Ontario, says she is proud of Clairvue’s thoughtful work. “There was such attention to detail – they wanted to get it right. When it came time to select appliances, a member with disabilities helped to make sure the doors swung the right way in the wheelchair-accessible units.” The other ground floor units used universal design so they can be easily converted to be wheelchair-accessible in the future.

Everyone involved – Clairvue, Development Consultant Tim Welch, architect firm Nicholson Sheffield and Construction Manager Bronnenco, CHF Canada and many government representatives – all seem to agree with Renée’s evaluation: “We had a great team!”

“CHF Canada is pleased to have played a role in the Clairvue expansion project,” says Executive Director Tim Ross. “Congratulations to all involved. It’s a wonderful example of co-operation and leadership, as outlined in our vision of Co-op Housing for All.”

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