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Better days are ahead for Barr’s Hotel on Essa Street and Barrie’s most vulnerable citizens. That old rundown hotel currently houses weird smells and creepy crawlers but will soon be reborn and redeveloped with purpose to house those experiencing chronic homelessness.
Developer Redwood Park Communities CEO Tim Kent is heading up the massive gut job, design and rebuild. Kent says there are two buildings on site. Each of the 12 units will be long-term apartments with a shared community kitchen.
“It will have a big community space and community kitchen to help with social interaction.”
A second building on the property will be transitional in nature. Kent says they have five of these units for people who have left the community for second stage addiction treatment. “It will help them come here first before returning to their regular community.”
The site plan also includes the construction of tiny homes and a community garden in the future. Kent says tiny homes are a great and inexpensive way to provide affordable housing.
The project is a partnership between the Barrie Construction Association, Redwood Park Communities, the Government of Ontario, the County of Simcoe, the City of Barrie and the David Busby Street Centre. The BCA plan to support Redwood through the Adopt-A-Unit campaign.
BCA Executive Director Alison Smith says their donation covers the cost to fully renovate a motel room into a furnished bachelor apartment. It means the room will be complete with kitchen, bathroom, new flooring, bed, linens and curtains. The BCA also have offered to host the tender for the conversion on its electronic plan room ‘BestBidz’.