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Barrie breaks ground on affordable housing project to tackle housing crisis

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Shovels hit the ground on Friday marking the ceremonial groundbreaking of an eight-storey, 108-unit apartment building in Barrie to address the housing crisis plaguing the city.

"This is huge, seeing affordable housing come to our city, come to our downtown where families are going to be able to pursue their hopes and dreams. It's incredible," said Mayor Alex Nuttall on Friday.

The Coral Sophia Lane Housing project, located at the corner of Bayfield and Sophia Streets, will include 45 affordable housing units.

The $60-million project is a collaborative effort between the Coral Group and Gillam Construction Group, which will receive financial support from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the City of Barrie's improvement plan.

"Our mandate was, as a board, just to continue to try and provide affordable housing for the city. That's how we started, and that's what we would like to keep doing," said Coral Housing Group president Tim Grant.

"It's a genuine privilege to be working with this group and we're very excited to be involved in the project to be making a substantial impact on the community of Barrie," added Gillam Construction Group CEO Marcus Gillam.

The City of Barrie will provide $600,000 toward waiving development charges for the project.

Jennifer van Gennip with Redwood Park Communities applauded the initiative.

"In this housing market, any housing start is good news. But specifically, purpose-built rentals for affordable housing are really going to help us meet the need here in Barrie," she noted.

Construction on the new building is slated to officially get underway in the next two weeks, with completion expected within two years.

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