Fort Saskatchewan's latest affordable housing project now has a name.

Last Thursday (Apr.29), the Heartland Housing Foundation held a small groundbreaking ceremony to formally announce their new project, the Muriel Ross Abdurahman Court.
 
The 83-unit building, designed to house families and individuals, offers units ranging from three bedrooms to studio-sized apartments.
 
"It's fairly unique within Fort Saskatchewan; it's going to be the first affordable housing community living project," said Nancy Simmonds, CEO for Heartland Housing Foundation.

The ceremony itself was drastically scaled back due to current pandemic measures, as current restrictions only permit ten people to gather outdoors.

"[It was] very small due to COVID restrictions, and we were able to have the family involved in honouring the site and the naming of the building."

The Muriel Ross Abdurahman Court is named after the late mayor of Fort Saskatchewan. Abdurahman spent six years as mayor in the 1980s before moving to provincial politics. She was responsible for incorporating Fort Saskatchewan as a city, the construction of the railway bridge through the centre of town and air quality monitoring as a public safety measure.
 
Abdurahman remained an active member of the community until her passing in 2013.

"Our board members had the opportunity to look at community members who have had a significant impact in Fort Saskatchewan and because two of our current board members are city councillors. Muriel Ross Abdurahman was very near and dear to their hearts, as far as being a community member and a true advocate," explained Simmonds. "She believed strongly in community and it just seems really appropriate for the type of housing that we're providing for the community."

The building itself is unique in that it combines different building materials, such as shipping containers for the main floor and traditional wood framing on the second, third and fourth floor. It's a net-zero project as well, meaning it will be self-sufficient and could potentially put energy back into the grid if it overproduces.

Green technology will be incorporated throughout the building, including solar panels both on the roof and carport. 

Simmonds said rent for the units would be determined at 20 to 30 per cent below where market value will be once the building opens.

"This is an opportunity for us to really open the doors within Fort Saskatchewan and also honouring the Abdurahman family. We're just happy to create a new opportunity where we can create that inclusive and vibrant community within a housing project."
 
It's expected to be completed by September 2022 and will cost just over $16-million.