Ottawa announces $5.75M to retrofit TCHC buildings

Ottawa has announced an investment to retrofit four Toronto Community Housing Corporation complexes. And while better heating and lighting may be welcome, Mark McAllister looks at the thousands of units sitting on a wait-list for basic repairs.

Some welcome news for residents at four Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) complexes.

The federal government announced Monday it will be giving $5.75 million to retrofit several residential buildings to make them more energy efficient.

The money is part of the government’s Green Municipal Fund and will go toward retrofit heating, cooling and lighting in the buildings.

Liberal MP Marco Mendicino said the changes will not only be good for the environment but will save residents money on their energy bills.

“This retrofit will help reduce energy consumption by 40 per cent in the four buildings and cut costs for the residents living there while reducing GHGs (greenhouse gases),” he explained.

The project will involve four TCHC complexes in Toronto, Hamilton and then in Kitchener — including the one on Walpole Avenue in the Greenwood Avenue and Gerrard Street East neighbourhood where the press conference was held.

City councillor Paula Fletcher, who represents the area, said she’s been advocating for these changes for the last 15 years.

“On Friday when I heard about this I went to my files and found a letter from 2004 saying ‘can we please find a way to reduce the heating costs for the tenants here at Walople,'” she said.

“This is such an exciting thing. We’ve changed light bulbs, we’ve changed the heads of showers, many things have happened but getting at the actual heat source is what’s going to happen here today and this is really and truly the deepest retrofit.”

Fletcher said originally baseboard heating was installed in the building because, at the time, it was the cheapest method of heating. But that’s no longer the case.

She thanked those residents who have continued to be a voice for the cause all these years and was reminded of those who were forced to move out of the complex because they couldn’t afford to heat their homes.

“These days we know that heating is very expensive so this is going to be a gift to this community and to many other communities that are dependent on baseboard heating. On behalf of all the 120 tenant homes here I just want to say ‘Yay! We did it!'”

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