By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent
The future light rail transit route out to Barrhaven has been slightly modified so homes won’t need to be demolished. While good news in some respects, the fight for Manor Park residents is far from over.
Under the first plan which was approved in November 2020, some residents in Manor Park and Cheryl Gardens would be forced to vacate and their homes bulldozed.
The new plan will see the elevated tracks go down the middle of Woodroffe between Knoxdale and Hunt Club, in what the staff report calls a 600 metre “pinch point.” It comes with a price tag of up to $50 million additional dollars.
The previous decision would mean over 360 tenants in the affordable housing complexes would have to move. The decision was a fairly easy one for the city to make with subsidized housing already hard to come by in Ottawa. And with housing prices rising in the capital, it would also mean the city would have had to pay more for the privately-owned land.
The modified plan wasn’t recommended originally because of complex needs which would need to be achieved, including utilities and underground water mains.
But for residents who fought to keep their houses intact, it’s far from over. The owners of Manor Village are in the midst of transforming their properties located at Majestic Drive and Woodroffe Avenue. Tenants have been offered buyouts of received eviction notices, with the landlord looking to remodel and upgrade the units.
So far 35 Manor Village tenants have been handed N13 eviction notices. Legally they aren’t obligated to leave — at least not yet — but eviction orders can be later issued by the Landlord and tenant board.
For the townhomes which have already had the work complete, they are going on the rental market for $3,000 a month, and are being catered to students and professionals who are looking for room rentals.
Under the new name “Woodroffe Place”, the units are being branded as a four-bedroom house with a private yard, renting for $3,200 a month minimum.
They also give the option of renting a room for $750 a month. A website promoting the newly renovated properties says they are fully furnished, and come with granite countertops and smart tv’s. The rent includes internet and in-suite laundry.
Tenants who received eviction notices have been given until August 31 to move out, according to ACORN Ottawa. The landlord, Smart Living Properties, says when they acquired the property last year, “it was in a state of poor repair and required significant refurbishment work to bring standards up.”
Work will include: new roofs, internal retrofits, new and additional windows, and substantial electrical and plumbing upgrades. Parts of units will also be demolished and reconfigured.
Smart Living Properties says they understand moving can be “inconvenient and stressful”, adding they successfully negotiated relocation deals and that tenants were generously compensated — “a much higher amount than legally required.”
The new total price tag for Barrhaven’s light rail transit system sits at $3.52 billion, but no finding or timelines have been made available. Even once shovels do go in the ground, it will take at least another decade before light rail transit is rolling through Barrhaven. A new upcoming council could also change or alter Phase 3 plans.