IHA spokesman calls for un­der­stand­ing

The Glengarry News - - News - News News, The

BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON

Staff Bill Kerr, the man who is in in­volved a le­gal bat­tle in Ottawa, is the same man who spoke to North Glen­garry coun­cil in Septem­ber about build­ing a se­niors’ vil­lage in Alexan­dria, though he in­sists that the two are not re­lated.

Late last month, the CBC re­ported that a num­ber of fam­i­lies who hired Coach Homes of Ottawa to build houses for them “have been plagued by de­lays and shoddy con­struc­tion, re­sult­ing in law­suits, coun­ter­suits and even a com­plaint to police.”

Ac­cord­ing to the CBC re­port, many of the homes – which tend to be be­tween 500 and 700 square feet – re­main in a state of con­struc­tion limbo. One frus­trated client even brought in her own con­trac­tor to fin­ish the project, only to be told that a num­ber of con­struc­tion de­fi­cien­cies would make that work next to im­pos­si­ble. In Septem­ber, Mr. Kerr, who is Gen­eral Man­ager of Coach Homes, ap­peared be­fore North Glen­garry coun­cil on be­half of an or­ga­ni­za­tion called IHA Canada. At the meet­ing, he pitched a se­niors’ vil­lage near Hôpi­tal Glen­garry Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal, where liv­ing units could cost as lit­tle as $800 per month. He also said IHA could likely pay for the con­struc­tion it­self with­out any fund­ing com­mit­ments from the hos­pi­tal or gov­ern­ment.

Township per­spec­tive

North Glen­garry CAO Sarah Huskin­son shared the news about Coach Homes with coun­cil at a re­cent in cam­era meet­ing. She added that plan­ning for the project is still in the in­fancy stage and that coun­cil is in contact with other stake­hold­ers be­sides Mr. Kerr.

Deputy-Mayor Carma Wil­liams agreed, say­ing coun­cil is still in the process of col­lect­ing in­for­ma­tion. “No decision has been made and we are con­tin­u­ing our in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” she said.

Mr. Kerr weighs in

Mr. Kerr says he only works for IHA and is neither the owner nor a share­holder. He says he sim­ply does con­sult­ing work for the group as an ad­vo­cate for af­ford­able se­niors’ hous­ing.

“I want to be very clear that the events that oc­curred with Coach Homes are not af­fil­i­ated in any way with IHA,” he said,

The com­pany’s pres­i­dent, Will Ball, who was present while Mr. Kerr spoke to

agrees, say­ing, “The IHA ship is my ship to steer.”

As for the project, Mr. Ball says that it’s in the plan­ning and de­sign stage. Although he wouldn’t an­nounce any sort of time­line, he said there should be a much clearer pic­ture once the de­sign is re­fined.

To each Lan­caster busi­ness and to all Lan­caster and area res­i­dents that sup­ported Satur­day night’s fundraiser for Missy and Rory Buchan, on be­half of the wine girls, hus­bands, vol­un­teers and the Buchans, thank you. We served over 500 spaghetti din­ners and once again Glen­garry came to­gether to sup­port a neigh­bour, a friend, a fam­ily. How proud we are to call Glen­garry, our home.

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