The Humber, a condominium by Options for Homes, will be the first of its kind in the GTA - a smokeless building. Architecture Unfolded/image
Once it’s built, Options for Homes’ residential development "the Humber" will be the first of its kind in the Greater Toronto Area.
The condominium building, which will be situated on the bank of the Humber River near Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue, will be “smokeless,” meaning consumption of tobacco and cannabis will be restricted to vaporizers.
The policy is in line with the not-for-profit organization’s mission to create a family-friendly condo whose unit mix will be two-thirds two-and-three bedrooms.
“What we’re trying to find is, we hope, a middle ground,” said CEO Heather Tremain. “There are fewer health downsides to vaping and it doesn’t create the same smoke issues … we’ll never be able to build a wall where nothing will pass through.”
The Humber’s "smokeless" policy takes into account many families’ desire to live in a smoke-free building while also respecting condo owners’ lifestyle choice to consume nicotine and cannabis products and addressing the upcoming legalization of marijuana in Canada this year.
Options for Homes, whose specialty is the development of affordable homes, has a wait list of more than 7,000 people, whom it surveyed to determine the level of interest for a "smokeless" building. Seventy-five per cent of the survey’s 800 respondents said they would be more likely to purchase a condo in a smoke-free building (13 per cent said it would make no difference). When asked if cannabis was restricted to e-cigarettes or vaping, 49 per cent said they would be more likely to purchase and 13 per cent said they’d be willing to switch to a vaping device (80 per cent said it was not relevant to them).
The company, which typically assists buyers whose household income is between $40,000 and $90,000, also looked into the health implications of e-cigarettes versus regular cigarettes to find out whether a smokeless policy would reduce the overall impact of smoking.
“There is conclusive evidence that completely substituting e-cigarettes for combustible tobacco cigarettes reduces users’ exposure to numerous toxicants and carcinogens present in combustible tobacco cigarettes,” the January 2018 Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarette study states.
Meanwhile, the "smokeless" policy will address smell and transfer of smoke from one unit to another, risk of balcony fires, and cigarette remnants thrown from upper units that fall onto balconies below, Tremain said.
And, “it’s very difficult to change a condo’s rules after it’s built,” she said. “It requires two-thirds of condo owners’ vote, which is often hard to achieve.”
The Humber’s smokeless policy will still restrict smoking and vaping in any common areas, including elevators, stairwells, hallways, parking garages, laundry facilities, lobbies, outdoor spaces and entertainment rooms. It will also restrict growing cannabis on balconies or in homes.
Options for Homes is about to launch sales of the Humber, a 232-suite, 22-storey condo that includes five townhome-style suites.
Given the current real estate climate, affordable homeownership is needed now more than ever, Tremain said. The company primarily helps those who can afford to carry the cost of a home but don’t have the resources to save for a large down payment.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been updated to indicate Heather Tremain is CEO of Options for Homes. June 5, 2018.