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Pickering - Ajax - Whitby : Development News

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Pickering policeman builds 5,000-square-foot straw-bale house

A Pickering house is being built using a new way to build walls, a method that’s attracted Chinese researchers to its open house on Friday.

The house is being built out of modular straw-bale walls developed by a St. Catharines startup, Nature Built Wall Systems Inc.

According to Neeraj Jain, one of three partners behind Nature Built, the owner, a Pickering policeman, had another house on the lot that burned down due to an electrical fire. He decided his next house was going to have the best materials he could get. While he was at it, he figured he might as well go green.

Straw-bale walls are not new, but there have been obstacles to bringing them into the mainstream.

"It's very inexpensive, you're using natural materials, it's fire resistant, it's also very resistant to earthquakes," Jain says. "The problem is it's messy, people think about the three little pigs, and you need specialized trades people to put it together, so [Jain's partner, Chris Magwood] came up with this idea of modularize it, to put it together in a factory, load them up onto a truck, arrive at the site, and pretty much like Lego, lay them down, fasten them to the foundation, and within half a day or a day you've got the whole building envelope done. It's a pretty novel way of building houses, and obviously, we're hoping it's going to catch on."

Representatives of the Chinese Academy of Building Research were interested in paying Magwood a visit to learn more about his system, and organized their trip so they could take a look at the walls in action. The deputy mayor of Pickering will also be at the north Pickering house at Brock Road and Concession Road 9 on Friday to cut a ribbon.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Neeraj Jain

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Pickering declares May building safety month with new initiatives

Pickering has declared May Building Awareness and International Building Safety Month.

"We got some new city-wide initiatives that the CAO [chief administrative officer Tony Prevedel] has put in place," says supervisor of building permits Brenda Yarush, "and one of those is community engagement. We wanted to engage the community more in community business."

The aim is to educate Pickering residents about the Ontario Building Code in light of the large number of renovations and other home improvements being done in the city. To this end, the city's created several guides, available in hard copy and as PDFs.

As chief building officer Kyle Bentley said in a press release, "The contents of the Building Code, and the overall permit process itself, can be overwhelming for people that are not typically exposed to the construction industry."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Brenda Yarush

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Pickering revitalization begins with $50-million office tower project anchored by MPAC and OPG

Pickering got a major boost last week when it was announced that Ontario Power Generation (OPG) had agreed to rent most of the remaining floors of the as-yet unnamed tower project under construction that will kick off what Pickering mayor Dave Ryan hopes will be a revitalization of the east-end city.

The $50-million project, which is being built with $30 million in provincial and federal stimulus funding by 20 Vic Management, the development arm of the Ontario Pension Board, will also include a bridge over the 401 between the tower and the GO station.

"We're calling it Pickering's Bridge to the Future," says Mayor Ryan, who is confident the construction of the bridge, which should begin by the end of this month, will not greatly affect traffic.

"It's a concept we've had since 1996," Mayor Ryan says. "We didn't have a design, but we had the idea linking the GO station with Pickering Town Centre, which is essentially our downtown on the north side of the 401."

The original and anchor tenant will be the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), which had threatened to move out of Pickering, with its 200 jobs, until Mayor Ryan brokered a deal to build this tower on the south end of what's now the Pickering Town Centre parking lot, to suit their requirements for increased office space.

MPAC is set to occupy in March of next year, with OPG moving in by June.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Dave Ryan

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a cool new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Pickering gets new marine safety infrastructure

It's 21 years late, but Baywatch has finally made it to Pickering.

This month, the City of Pickering completed a water safety program involving the permanent installation of signs and buoys in Frenchman's Bay to enforce long-ignored federal boating laws.

The project has been nicknamed Baywatch.

As the markers began going up, the Durham Regional Police Marine Unit has started stopping boats for speeding, and to do general license and safety checks.

According to Pickering's mayor, the reduced speeds will also have some positive repercussions on the physical environment.

"I congratulate City staff for spearheading this initiative," Mayor Dave Ryan said in a prepared statement, "and partnering with the police marine unit and other stakeholders to enhance community safety while reducing the erosion of our shoreline."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Mark Guinto

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a cool new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Pickering issues 32 comprehensive sustainability guidelines for future development

The City of Pickering released a report last week that will determine the direction of much of its future development.

Generically titled Measuring Sustainability Report, it sets out 32 criteria by which the sustainability of development in the city may be measured.

"It's getting the ground rules established," says Tom Melymuk, director of Pickering's office of sustainability. "If you take a green building program, how can we incent that? Once you start measuring how well you're doing, you can start focusing on areas where you're not doing as well and develop an action plan."

There is no schedule, or any action plans in place yet, and Melymuk refers to the report as a framework for the future.

As it was described in the city's press release, "The indicators range from those that reflect the quality of Pickering's air and water, to those that reflect the City's progress towards being an inclusive and welcoming community, with healthy employment opportunities."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Tom Melymuk

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or renovating, even a cool new house in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

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