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Friday, September 19, 2014
Saskatchewan

REVITALIZATION BEGINS IN PLEASANT HILL NEIGHBOURHOOD

At a sod turning ceremony today, residents, students and dignitaries celebrated the start of construction leading to revitalization in the Pleasant Hill neighbourhood.

Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer, MP for Saskatoon/Rosetown/Biggar Kelly Block, Saskatoon Mayor Donald Atchison, Chief Felix Thomas and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools Board Chair Diane Boyko, were joined by representatives from the community, as well as from the Affordable New Home Development Corporation and Cenith Developments to officially launch construction.

"Today we are turning the sod, not just for the construction of a new school and more affordable housing, but for the revitalization of a neighbourhood," Harpauer said. "Through creative partnerships between community members, government agencies, private sector developers and individuals, we will build a vibrant community and ensure a better life and brighter future for the people of Pleasant Hill."

The Pleasant Hill revitalization includes the remediation of an entire block to produce clean, fully-serviced land for redevelopment; the building of a new St. Mary's Community School and community space; renewed park space; and two housing developments with a total of 36 units. The Pleasant Hill Revitalization Project, located along 20th Street West between Avenue N South and Avenue P South, is estimated to have a total value of more than $40 million in infrastructure upgrades.

"Investing in the Pleasant Hill revitalization helps build a stronger Saskatoon," said Block. "Our Government recognizes that safe and healthy communities require modern infrastructure, especially during these challenging economic times."

"With the scope of this revitalization, we are closer to realizing a vision where families in this neighbourhood can enjoy walking in beautiful green spaces, have access to affordable housing, and join in the activities at the new school," Atchison said. "These amenities are at the heart of all neighbourhoods in Saskatoon, and the residents of Pleasant Hill should take pride in believing in a thriving and enduring neighbourhood."

"The Saskatoon Tribal Council takes great pleasure in being a partner in the Pleasant Hill Revitalization Project," Chief Thomas said. "In an area that has the highest concentration of First Nations residents in the City of Saskatoon, the development of a new school and new housing stock can only serve to better the hope, morale and aspirations of all Pleasant Hill residents."

The rejuvenation also includes construction of a new St. Mary's Community School. The concept plan has ensured that communal space is provided for a daycare, kindergarten and wellness centre. Residents will also have access to a walking track and multi-purpose meeting rooms.

"The new St. Mary's Community School is a key part of revitalizing Pleasant Hill," Boyko said. "Our participation in this project underlines one of our central beliefs: that Catholic education reaches out to make a difference in the wider community. We are doing just that with the innovative programs offered at St. Mary's."

The Pleasant Hill housing projects represent an innovative new approach to developing affordable housing, blending public funding for community non-profit groups and affordable market housing. The Affordable New Home Development Foundation will contract two local builders to build 24 dwelling units on Parcel D. Cenith Developments Inc. will develop 12 units on Parcel B. This partnership will see the private sector develop all the housing units. The province, as part of the $8 million pledged for housing projects last year, will work with non-profit groups to acquire and operate some of these housing units. The remainder of the units will be sold on the market.

Karen Walsh, Member of the Affordable New Home Development Foundation Board of Directors expressed her admiration for the new affordable housing designs that will be constructed by a partnership of two local builders - Ehrenburg Homes and River Ridge Homes.

"With the support of the Foundation, and the experience and capacity of these two builders, we expect 24 families will be enjoying their new homes early in 2010," Walsh said.

Alan Thomarat, Chief Executive Officer of the Saskatoon & Region Home Builders' Association and charter President of the new Bridges & Foundations Career Development Corporation announced the Corporation's first project. "The Pleasant Hill housing development which will
be first to employ people under this program and they will be able to work on the new 24 units of housing. This unique initiative will provide rewarding careers in the residential construction industry, enhance quality of life and increase capacities for many individuals and families within
Saskatoon's inner city communities," Thomarat said.

"We at Cenith Developments couldn't be more thrilled to participate in such an extraordinary project in Pleasant Hill," Cenith Developments Sam Qin said. "These homes will be energy efficient and environmentally friendly, and will add a fresh vibrancy to the community."

Construction on the housing developments will start this summer, and sales of the housing units will begin as well. The housing developments will be completed by spring 2010. Construction of the new St. Mary's Community School will start in late fall 2009, and will be finished early in 2011. The park space will be expanded and its construction will begin in spring 2010.

"We have high expectations for this redevelopment," Pleasant Hill Community representative Ilsa Arenson Kun said. "We feel confident that the resulting development will be a success because of the deep involvement of community residents and stakeholders from this neighbourhood."

The development area totals 9.21 acres and provides 3.34 acres for residential development; 2.86 acres for the new community school and school grounds; and 3.01 acres of open park space.

The redevelopment concept plan has been created with help and participation of numerous community residents. The community has been involved in drafting the concept plan, providing input into the community space in the new school and the transformed park, and will review all development proposals.

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For more information, contact:

Alan Wallace
City of Saskatoon
Saskatoon
Phone: 306-975-2650

Trish Alcorn
Social Services
Regina
Phone: 306-787-0916

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