Builders Poised to Meet Housing Challenge
In addition to offering a broad vision for the city’s growth through 2031, Ottawa’s Official Plan will establish a framework to guide the city’s physical development. When complete, that framework will almost certainly acknowledge two main factors: one, the city’s population will continue to increase rapidly; and, two, so will the demand for quality, affordable housing. In fact, the city expects to add at least 100,000 homes in the next 15 years.
In response, the City has invited the private sector, including builders and developers, to play a vital role in meeting that demand. That’s exactly what the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA) has done, and is prepared to do in the future, as the plan is developed.
Like the city—and like its residents—GOHBA members want to get housing right in the new Official Plan, says Executive Director Jason Burggraaf. “Our industry is an important partner in the creation of the Official Plan because all communities—new and existing, inside and outside the greenbelt—need to be successful if Ottawa as a city is to be successful.”
The challenge, he says, will be balancing intensification while protecting housing affordability and choice. “As Ottawa grows, we need to think about how and where we’re going to house those new residents,” says Jason. “That means moving beyond the idea of building only certain types of homes or building only in certain areas.”
“Simply put, we need to embrace an Ottawa that will see homes grow up, in and out.”
As they have for nearly 70 years, GOHBA members—new home builders, land developers, professional renovators, suppliers, manufacturers and trade contractors—are fully prepared to contribute to the city’s housing policy as they are the housing policies of every level of government. And, as always, the priority will be on affordability and choice.
Residential construction and renovation industry is a financial powerhouse, responsible for $5 billion in economic activity annually. Residential construction alone is responsible for 20,000 jobs in the Ottawa area and $1 billion in wages while the renovation industry accounts for 24,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in wages
But GOHBA member’s contribution to the community goes well beyond the financial. Members recognize that a home—be it a condo, house or apartment—can be the most defining characteristic of a community. “A home represents a significant part of our identity,” says GOBHA president Roy Nandram. “Homes frame our lifestyle choices and provide a base for our families.”
That’s why the Official Plan is so important, says Roy. “Ensuring a sufficient supply of housing and creating an appropriate mix of housing, all while protecting affordability—that has always been our goal. And working with the City on the Official Plan, we’ll achieve that goal.”
GOHBA expanding services
In addition to its collaborative work with the City of Ottawa and other housing stakeholders, GOHBA is expanding its member services in the following areas:
- enhancing educational offerings to renovators—it recently held its first annual RENODAY, a professional development symposium for renovators and contractors
- creating a program to help Ottawa residents recognize infill builders who are committed to professional job sites and superior neighbourhood engagement
- partnering with school boards, immigrant employment and training services and secondary institutions like Algonquin College to promote skilled trades as a first‑choice career