Aboriginal Housing Ontario won’t sell Woods Lane Apt. building to Town of Gore Bay

Aboriginal Housing Ontario won’t sell Woods Lane Apt. building to Town of Gore Bay

By Tom Sasvari - November 23, 2022

GORE BAY—The Town of Gore Bay has been turned down in its request to purchase the 
Woods Lane Apartment building, which it had hoped to turn into seniors housing.

“We received a letter that indicated no to the request,” said Gore Bay councillor Dan 
Osborne, who pointed out he and Mayor Ron Lane (a member of the Gore Bay general 
government committee) met with representatives of Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services 
(OAHS) recently. “They (OAHS) weren’t interested in our request.”

Mayor Osborne pointed out the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board (MSDSB) sold the Woods Lane apartments to OAHS for $1 in 2019. “I just wonder why it wasn’t offered to us (Town of Gore Bay),” he said.

“Unfortunately, we need senior housing in town, and this building would have been a good place to open up more senior housing units, for seniors who live in Gore Bay, or basically any seniors from Gore Bay and Western Manitoulin,” said Councillor Osborne.

Councillor Osborne pointed out OAHS wants the apartments to be used for social housing. “Our focus is on developing more seniors housing, there is definitely a need for more seniors housing. We have a lot of seniors in town and the area who live in their own houses but will need seniors’ housing in the future.”

“Yes it is true,” wrote Cathy Connor, director of housing development for OAHS on its denial of the town request. “In the letter to the mayor I wrote: “the property is currently rented and the demand we have for rental applicants is increasing. The need for Indigenous housing in Gore Bay warrants both the Meredith Street property and the new development on Water Street where we are hoping to provide additional mixed units.”

“If the Town of Gore Bay is interested in developing additional housing opportunities, OAHS would be pleased to work with you so that all people on Manitoulin can have access to safe, affordable housing. Should this be an option you would like to discuss further, please do not hesitate to contact me,” wrote Ms. Connor.

As has been reported previously the town made the request for the apartment building to be sold back to the town after Gore Bay general government committee member Ron Lane (who is now Mayor of Gore Bay) had implored the town to investigate the possibility of purchasing the Woods Lane apartment building and return it to its original purpose, senior housing.

As was reported in the August 3 edition of The Expositor Mr. Lane was quoted as saying the building has been in place since the mid-1960s and was named after two former mayors (Marv Woods and John Lane) of the town.

From a personal point of view, I’m not satisfied with the way the apartment building is being managed,” said Mr. Lane. “The original intent of the building was for seniors, but when the (MSDSB) took it over, it was changed to social housing. The Millsite apartment has a list of 39 people aged 65 and over on a waiting list to get an apartment in the building. I think the town should be looking into reacquiring the building and turning it into seniors’ housing.”

“There would be costs involved, but it would mean there would be more apartments available for seniors,” said Mr. Lane.