Habitat Wants Land

Habitat for Humanity Prince Edward-Hastings executive director Bob Clute told Quinte West city council the organization wants to build three single family homes on the site of the former parks department depot known as the Leopold Centre in Trenton’s east end. Habitat would pay for the demolition of the building and environmental assessment in exchange for three building lots owned by the city. The proposal is currently before the city’s finance and corporate services department.

QUINTE WEST – A vacant city-owned building could be demolished and transformed into three Habitat homes. The Leopold Centre on Trenton’s east end was used by the city’s parks department as a depot and has sat empty for three years. Bob Clute, executive director for Habitat for Humanity Prince Edward-Hastings, has a better idea for the property.

Clute is proposing Habitat for Humanity will pay for the demolishing service garage and storage building, and the environmental assessment, in exchange for the city donating the three lots in order to construct three single family homes.

“We’re asking for the city’s help in giving more families another helping hand up,” said Clute. The proposal is currently before the city’s finance and corporate services committee. A recommendation is expected in February, with full council approval in March. Clute was in council chambers Monday providing politicians with more information. He said construction of the homes would be considered as in-fill in an older neighbourhood that contains modest homes that would enhance the existing housing landscape in Trenton’s east end.

Clute said demolition and environmental assessment is expected to cost about $100,000, with the valued of the cleared property estimated at $100,000. Construction of the three Habitat homes is expected to cost around $300,000. “We build with volunteers and constructing the three homes means we will get the help of more than 300 people,” said Clute. Clute said Habitat for Humanity also has “outstanding” support from CFB Trenton. “We typically receive more than 160 hours of support from the men and women at the base. It’s incredible,” he said.

Clute said construction will boost the local economy by employing and paying for materials from more than 65 local businesses totalling more than $375,000 in contracts. “Our home owners will pay taxes exceeding $10,000 annually to Quinte West during their 25-year ownership,” added Clute.

Habitat for Humanity completed a duplex on Sidney Street in Trenton in 2015. The building is now home to two families. Clute said there are numerous intangibles with the project. “The benefits of our impact on volunteering and community involvement is immeasurable and the impact of Habitat’s contribution to affordable housing is unique and unparalleled. Clute said Habitat is about giving families a helping hand up.

“Habitat reduces the social costs associated with public housing and social assistance. We reduce the government burden on rent subsidies and the need for government agencies to build multi-row housing. We help remove families from areas subject to high crime statistics,” he said.

If the latest Quinte West Habitat project is approved by city council, Clute said the build will also mark a milestone. The homes will be Habitat’s first barrier-free home construction. Clute said Habitat will construct more barrier-free homes as the need arises. “Our first choice family have a child we call ‘J-J.’ He was diagnosed at five with high functioning autism and, at nine, with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. He has very special needs that we intend to meet during the construction phase,” said Clute.

Ernst Kuglin/The Intelligencer