Wolseley Housing Co-op builds on the strength of local co-ops

arlington-entranceAs credit unions and co-operatives around the world celebrated Co-op Week and International Credit Union Day this week, a co-op project right here in Manitoba was underlining the power of co-operation among co-operatives.

The official sod turning for Old Grace Housing Co-operative (OGHC) was held on August 11. Two months later, piles have been driven, work on the foundation is well underway, and the construction site at the corner of Arlington and Preston in Winnipeg’s Wolseley district is a hive of activity.

It is expected that in just a year’s time work on the brand-new 60-unit development will be complete. The new energy-efficient, mixed-age and mixed-income co-operative will be a testament to the power and vibrancy of Manitoba’s co-operative movement.

The groundwork for OGHC was laid in 2012 by a group of volunteers who were committed to building a housing co-op on the site of the original Grace Hospital in Wolseley.

As the organization developed it received considerable support from Manitoba’s co-operatives. The Manitoba branch of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada provided invaluable advice, particularly in the OGHC’s early stages of development.

In addition, the OGHC benefited from a Community Enterprise Development Grant from Assiniboine Credit Union (ACU) and a Co-operative Development Grant from the Manitoba Co-operative Association. The relationship with ACU has been ongoing: ACU is providing construction financing, bridge financing for the grants and tax credits that are provided only after occupancy, and ultimately the co-op’s long-term mortgage.

OGHC has also benefited greatly from the ongoing support and advice it has received from its consultants, DSI-Tandem Co-op Resources, a highly experienced Winnipeg-based co-op development firm and worker co-op.

As a part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, OGHC has entered into a relationship with Peg City Car Co-op. Peg City will manage two car-share locations on site and will provide each OGHC member with a Peg City credit.

Demand for the suites has been high, and most suites have been allocated. However, OGHC is still accepting applications for membership and the co-op’s waiting list.

For more information, visit http://www.oldgracehousingcoop.ca.