I can’t recall ever spending so much time at home. Sure, the weather has been much nicer than during the start of this pandemic, and many restrictions have been lifted, but home is still the place where our families can shelter no matter how long COVID-19 persists.

This is a ‘luxury’ many of us take for granted, but we all know of places – not all of them overseas – where ‘home’ isn’t necessarily as safe, stable, or permanent as our own. Right here in Newmarket, where rental vacancy rates have fallen to 2 percent, and 20 percent of residents rely on rental housing, we have many families who struggle.

Which is why I’m pleased our federal government has announced they are financing $79 million to help build 216 residential units at 195 Deerfield Road in Newmarket. I was on hand at the construction site with Mayor John Taylor, Rose Corporation President Daniel Berholz and the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister responsible for CMHC, where he delivered a strong message about the need for more rental housing.

“Canada’s middle-class and those working hard to join them will benefit from the construction of new rental housing,” said Minister Hussen. “Through new investments, we are taking action to increase the supply of new rental developments, providing housing options that are closer to jobs, services and amenities families need.”

This will be welcome news for many, and I am encouraged that our government is partnering with the Rose Corporation to deliver this significant investment. We know that housing is a foundation for building better lives and sharing in the prosperity of our community.

Rose Corporation is not a newcomer to our town. Roughly three years ago, they completed the 212 Davis Drive Apartments, which were the first privately funded, purpose-built rental apartments in Newmarket since the mid 1980s.

The new development on Deerfield Rd. will be three towers on 4.4 acres when completed. The first building, now under construction, will be 15 stories and 216 units, ranging from one to three bedrooms.

It’s nice to see this project offers more than just the ‘basics.’ The developer has put considerable thought into livability, with amenities like a 20,000 square foot park with a playground, kids zone, fitness centre and yoga studio.

Residents will be steps away from the VIVA bus Rapidway on Davis Drive. There will also be bicycle parking, and direct access to our biking and walking trails. I think these apartments will offer an attractive lifestyle for all kinds of people – from millennials to seniors.

Daniel Berholz summed it up nicely in this statement about collaboration in community building.

“As city builders, we have a corporate social responsibility to help create more attainable rental and ownership housing alternatives within the communities in which we build,” said Daniel. “By embracing public-private partnerships, The Rose Corporation’s collaboration with all levels of government – York Region, the Town of Newmarket and the federal government (CMHC) has allowed us to successfully help fill a desperate need for more affordable housing options in Newmarket.”

I can’t wait to see how this project turns out, as the area will be transformed. These are truly exciting times for our community!