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415 MacLaren received funding for new lounge kitchen

The Community Capital Fund Selection Committee decided to fund a new kitchen for the lounge at 415 MacLaren in 2018.

“I’m so excited,” said Property Manager Melissa Arsenault, who said she’d see the kitchen renovated if it “was the last thing I do.” When she started at OCH a little more than two years ago.

The CCF is designed to engage tenants in their communities. In 2018 the selection committee – made up of Community Development staff and tenant representatives accepts applications for funding for everything from gardening supplies to bingo machines. In 2018 more than two dozen projects were funded, totalling more than $100,000 in contributions to OCH communities.

The kitchen isn’t big enough to accommodate more than a person or two doing prep, said tenant Nicky Asellin.

Nicky said for three years she used to volunteer to do work in the kitchen – by volunteering at the “Snack Shack” which offered coffee and snacks a few times per week, as well as other events.

“I would cook meals for special events and Christmas,” Nicky said. “I loved it, but it’s too small once you get more than

Nicky said the kitchen space and appliances were both in need of an upgrade. The grant will pay for both.

Amanda Ryan, a Tenancy Support Worker who has been working in the building since August, said that increasing the kitchen size would encourage partner agencies to make use of it – which is good, because food security is an issue in that building.

“It will create a ripple effect,” Amada said, adding the building is one of few that has a full time community developer provided by Salus – a partner agency that provides mental health and addiction support services.

“Programs like the Snack Shack promote civic engagement and teach vocational skills like handing cash,” she said. “With a bigger space, there’s the potential for more of that. Tenants have been willing to deal with the loss of the lounge space temporarily for making the kitchen more user friendly.”

Amanda said there’s also been some interest from local artist to create a mural in the lounge.

“It will overall be a more welcoming space,” she said.

The timeline on the kitchen remodel isn’t yet clear, but more information should come later in 2019, Melissa said.

 Tenants in the kitchen at 415 MacLaren

Tenants in the kitchen at 415 MacLaren

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