At a December council meeting where it was recommended that the City of Guelph sell the property of 65 Delhi Street there was a request among councillors to find a buyer that would use the heritage building for a public good. Mission: accomplished! In a media release on Tuesday, the City said that none other than the County of Wellington wants to buy 65 Delphi, and then turn it into transitional housing.
To recap, council heard a report from staff on surplus real estate assets in 2019, and an update came back at the end of last year that recommended the sale of 65 Delhi, which was once an isolation wing for the General Hospital built in 1911 and is now one of the City’s heritage properties. The present tenet, the Guelph Wellington Paramedic Services, is moving out some time later this year, so staff recommended selling the property. Council agreed.
A closed meeting report came back to council at the end of January, and council gave direction to staff on a proposed sale, which has, apparently, led us here.
Meanwhile, Wellington County initiated the Loyola House Supportive Temporary Accommodation Pilot (LHSTAP) last October. The program saw people who are homeless moved from area hotels to the Loyola House at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre so that they could continue to isolate from COVID-19. But pilots come to an end, and then where will those people in Loyola House will go?
“The Loyola House Supportive Temporary Accommodation Pilot potentially ends in the fall,” said Warden Kelly Linton in a statement. “By relocating to the 65 Delhi Street location in Guelph we’ll be able to provide units to people who really need support and a safe place to live. The location is also ideal for easier access to important community support services.
“Building safe and suitable housing helps to strengthen the economy, build communities and support overall personal well-being,” Warden added.
The property will have to be rezoned to allow for the intended use, which means there’s a statutory planning meeting in the likely immediate future to get this project moving. Last year, council approved a motion to fast track planning projects meant to eliminate homelessness and assist in the creation of affordable housing. The Parkview motel and Shelldale Crescent supportive housing projects, both recently discussed at council, were recipients of this quick response by the City.
“The final sale of this property to the County is conditional on rezoning,” said Chief Administrative Officer Scott Stewart. “Last year, Council directed staff to declare 65 Delhi a surplus asset. It would be great to see this property used to support those in our community who need it the most.”
Heritage Guelph will likely have to approve any site plan or renovations as well in order to make sure the heritage elements of the building are preserved. According to the City’s Register of Cultural Heritage Properties, 65 Delhi is a two-storey Georgian Revival with double recessed entrance sections with double leaf glazed doors, and has Tuscan porches with flat roofs.