Renovations completed on Woods Lane apartment building in Gore Bay

Woods Lane Apartments in Gore Bay.

GORE BAY – Renovations have been completed on the Woods Lane apartment building in Gore Bay, with several new residents having moved into the building recently. Meanwhile, work is continuing on the purchase of land on Water Street by Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS) toward construction on a new housing unit on vacant land on Water Street in the town.

“The developments in Gore Bay are a great example of what can be achieved for people when we work together,” said Sarah McBain, OAHS communications specialist, on Monday of this week. She explained, “our renovations are completed at 66 Meredith Street with all 10 units filled, including eight new tenants who have moved in during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“That is eight new homes of safe and affordable housing in this unprecedented time,” said Ms. McBain.

As had been reported in late 2019, the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board (DSB) gave the green light to the sale of the Woods Lane Apartments in Gore Bay, along with an adjacent vacant lot, to OAHS for one dollar apiece during a November 2019 board meeting. A proposal was put forward previously to build up to 30 units on the vacant lot property. 

In May 2019, the DSB received a report from its property committee recommending the 10 units (six bachelor and four one-bedroom apartments) at the Woods Lane apartment complex be placed on the market. At that time, DSB CAO Fern Dominelli explained the report indicated the projected cost of maintaining the Woods Lane units was expected to increase drastically to $42.39 a square foot by 2023, up from $1.15 a square foot in 2017.

The Woods Lane Apartments (named after former Gore Bay mayors Marv Woods and John Lane) are Manitoulin Island’s original social housing units and were first opened as a Gore Bay Centennial project in 1967.

Ms. McBain told the Recorder that “our purchase of the vacant land on Water Street is in development with construction to begin at a later date. We now have the deed to the property, which we obtained at the end of October. We had prioritized the renovations at (Woods Lane Apartments) first, and now that this is complete and the units our filled we will begin to look at the development of the vacant lot.”

“We haven’t decided on the proposed unit numbers we are looking at; this will be part of a strategic plan we will be looking at next, and then look at construction,” said Ms. McBain.

Ms. McBain said, “thanks to Fern Dominelli and the team at the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board for supporting this opportunity to help more people. We are looking forward to strengthening our partnership so that we can better serve Indigenous people living on Manitoulin Island.”