The former repurposed research station

0

Work in progress on the transitional housing project

Content of the article

A Norfolk County couple is transforming the former tobacco research station near Delhi into transitional housing for refugees.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

Mike and Sandra Kloepfer of Titan Trailers are converting the Schafer Side Road building into seven apartments which they hope will be ready for families by September. They plan to call the new building Schafer House.

“We’ve been successful in our careers and in business, and it’s our way of giving back to the county and the region,” Kloepfer said. “It’s a way to help and something we really wanted to do.

“This is set up primarily for families.”

The building is undergoing a complete overhaul and when completed will have two and three bedroom apartments. It will have a recreation room and a play area for children.

Plans also call for playground equipment to be placed on the 65-hectare (160-acre) property.

“A lot of people who come in will probably end up in the big cities and it’s an opportunity for those who want to be rural.”

The property also has greenhouses that will allow newcomers to grow some of their own food, Kloepfer said.

The idea is to give families accommodation for about a year. This should give them enough time to settle into a job and find alternative accommodation. Other families could then move in and start their new lives, Kloepfer said.

The project will also help address a local labor shortage, he added.

“It’s a great area and those who choose to come here will have the choice of taking manufacturing jobs or getting agricultural jobs,” Kloepfer said. “I know at Titan Trailers we could use more workers and there are others in the same boat.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

“Many farmers use foreign labor during the summer and some need year-round workers for food processing and other agribusiness jobs.

Ukraine is the breadbasket of Europe. It has prime agricultural land, so Kloepfer thinks there will be a lot of refugees or immigrants who will be drawn to southwestern Ontario.

Kloepfer has been in touch with Immigration Canada officials and said they are excited about the project. It’s something that’s never been done before and they can’t wait to see how it works.

The renovations are being carried out by Reid & Deleye of Courtland. There is no government money involved in the project, Kloepfer said.

Millions of Ukrainians have left their war-torn homeland and the number expected to come to Canada is in the hundreds of thousands.

The former research station was operated by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada until around 2013. The Kloepfers bought the property in 2015. It housed a fire school for a short time. After the academy moved, the building remained empty.

The original transitional housing plan called for it to be used to house Afghan refugees. But those staying at Schafer House are more likely to come from Ukraine because people are struggling to get out of Afghanistan.

The Kloepfers applied for and received a three-year Norfolk County Temporary Use Settlement to accommodate the plans.

“I can’t thank the (Norfolk) County Council and planning staff enough,” Kloepfer said. “They were great to work with and we really appreciate their efforts.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

The proposal received strong support from the Delhi council. Mike Columbus during his first presentation to councillors.

“It uses a high-end building that has been used for institutional purposes,” Columbus said. “This fills the need for housing in our region and addresses a labor shortage, which is quite significant.

“We hear about it every week.”

Additionally, the proposal does not impact existing farmland, Columbus said.

The couple received letters of support from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Woodstock Community Employment Services and the London Cross-Cultural Learner Centre. They are also looking to partner with similar organizations to help newcomers make the transition.

“We’re very excited about this and really looking forward to having an open house,” Kloepfer said.

[email protected]

twitter.com/EXPVBall

Jonathan Kloepfer works in the greenhouse of a former research station near Delhi.  Along with him, his father Mike and Dave Holmes, the project manager, are overseeing work to convert a building on the property into transitional housing for immigrants from Ukraine and possibly Afghanistan.  The work is carried out by Reid & Deleye of Courtland.  VINCENT BALL
Jonathan Kloepfer works in the greenhouse of a former research station near Delhi. Along with him, his father Mike and Dave Holmes, the project manager, are overseeing work to convert a building on the property into transitional housing for immigrants from Ukraine and possibly Afghanistan. The work is carried out by Reid & Deleye of Courtland. VINCENT BALL jpg, RS

Advertisement 1

comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. Visit our Community Rules for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.



Source link

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.