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    Learn more about developing a budget, financial statement analysis and subsidies.


CMHC Windmill Line Coop Descriptive Text

(On screen text: Toronto, Ontario)
(Visual: Scenic shot of Toronto skyline with CN Tower in background)

Windmill Line is a housing coop – ten stories, 206 units, about 350 members, located in the St. Lawrence neighborhood of Toronto. It was part of a redevelopment project that happened in the 1970s/80s to reclaim some industrial land. 
(Woman speaking off-screen; Sabine Behnk, Windmill Line)
(Visual: Exterior of Windmill Line Coop building, and community shots of St. Lawrence Market neighborhood)

The greatest thing about this area is the Esplanade, which is a green corridor that was planned right from the beginning to be part of the community.
(Sabine Behnk speaking off-screen)
(Visual: Exterior community shots of the Esplanade greenspace and basketball court)

The members at Windmill Line are a good cross section of society. We’ve got young families, singles, couples, seniors, persons with disabilities.
(Sabine Behnk speaking off-screen)
(Visual: Montage of different members of Windmill Line in their apartments)

The community is remarkable, and we love it for that reason. It’s really mixed racially, financially, culturally. There are members here who’ve committed to 30 years of this coop.
(Man speaking off-screen; Adam Faux, Resident at Windmill Line)
(Visual: Family sitting on living room couch, reading to their daughter. Transition to Adam Faux speaking on-screen)
(On-screen Text: Adam Faux; Resident — Windmill Line)

So a housing coop is a mixed income, democratically run community. Members make decisions about what happens in the coop.
(Sabine Behnk speaking off-screen. Elderly woman in wheelchair maneuvering around her home)

Windmill Line is a section 95 housing coop.
(Sabine Behnk speaking off-screen. Elderly woman reading co-op newsletter. Visual of Windmill Weekly Newsletter shown)

So that means [that] we have an operating agreement with CMHC, and CMHC provided two types of funding to the coop — Bridge Subsidy and Rent Geared to Income Assistance. The coop could not have functioned without that money.
(On-screen text: Sabine Behnk; Windmill Line, Toronto, Ontario)
(Sabine Behnk speaking on-screen — interior common room)

The assistance was essential to the running of the coop, and certainly, at least 25% of the members currently, and in the past it was as high as 50% of the members would not have been able to live here without the rent geared to income assistance.
(Sabine Behnk speaking off-camera)
(Visuals: Interior apartment; elderly woman petting cat in home. Visuals of bedroom and dining room)

Windmill Line’s operating agreement with CMHC was a 35-year agreement and it ends in May of 2018.
What that means for the coop is that the coop no longer has any obligations to CMHC. It also means that our mortgage is paid off.
(Visual: Sabine Behnk speaking on-camera - Interior common room)

The other thing it means is that CMHC will no longer be providing Rent Geared to Income Assistance as of May of 2018, so the coop needs to be proactive in planning for that.
(Visual: Sabine Behnk speaking on-camera – Interior office. Transition to Sabine working on a computer)

The main concern is the question of whether or not we’re going to be able to continue to be able to provide a Housing Charge Reduction Program that will allow people of low income to be able to continue to live at Windmill Line.
(On-screen text: Brian Eng; Resident, Windmill Line)
(Visual: Brian Eng speaking on-screen — Interior common room)

We did a survey about four months ago and asked people how they would spend the mortgage savings, and gave them sort of five or six different categories including you know, capital repairs, upgrades, aging in place, more staff, and you know, an ongoing subsidy program — Housing Charge Reduction Program.
(Man speaking off-screen; Brian Eng, Resident at Windmill Line)
(Visual: Interior boardroom — Member’s meeting at boardroom table. Transition to Brian Eng speaking on-screen — Interior common room)

The coop has also been very proactive in funding its capital reserves. About 15% of its operating budget goes towards a fund, to fund future expenses — future major capital projects.
(Sabine Behnk speaking off-camera)
(Visuals of computer screen showing graphs with Sabine reviewing from desk. Montage of common areas; lobby, hallways, man walking into elevator)

The coop has set up a committee, a 2018 working group, to look at the various things that need to be done before the end of the operating agreement.
(Visual: Sabine Behnk speaking on-screen — Interior common room)

We’ve completed the Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada’s 2020 process.
(Brian Eng speaking off-screen)
(Visual: Interior boardroom. Members around table reviewing paperwork. Computer screen shows The Five Standards of a 2020 Co-op)

The tools are a diagnostic tool and a planning tool.
(Visual: Brian Eng speaking on-screen — Interior common room)

There’s a five-step process that coops work through. The first one is to develop a vision and mission statement, which is really quite inspired.
They were able then to complete all the other steps proving that they had good governance, proving that they had good management, that their financial tools were adequate to the task, that they had vision of recycling and environmental sustainability.
(Sabine Behnk speaking off-screen)
(Visual: Close up of 2020 vision material; screen scrolls to different areas of document. Transition to Sabine Behnk speaking on-screen — Interior common room)

At Windmill Line, what’s popping out is that we’re actually in pretty good shape.
(Visual: Brian Eng speaking on-screen — Interior common room)

There will be some challenges but there’s tremendous opportunities. Particularly in the fact that we will own our own asset.
(Brian Eng speaking off-screen)
(Visual: Interior boardroom; Members’ meeting)

We’ve stopped trying to sort of think of it in terms of end of the operating agreement and really started to try to think of it in terms of a transition to independence, and what are the opportunities that that creates for us as well as trying to figure out how we’re going to deal with the challenges.
(Visual: Brian Eng speaking on-screen – Interior common room)

I think CHF Canada’s 2020 vision tools have been instrumental in helping the coop to develop a plan for being ready for the end of the operating agreement.
(Visual: Sabine Behnk speaking on-screen — Interior common room. Transition to exterior of Windmill Line building)

I hope things continue as close to the way they are as possible. People who live here are happy to be here.
(Visual: Interior child’s room; Adam with wife and young daughter playing)
(Adam Faux; Resident at Windmill Line speaking off-screen)
(Visual: Transition to Welcome Friends sign on exterior door)

(End video with CMHC logo, CHF Canada logo, and Canada wordmark)

Windmill Line Co-operative Homes: Solidly based for a sound future

Thanks to good governance and solid financial planning, Windmill Line Co-operative Homes is in a great position for future growth. Working together, the co-op members were able to meet all five of the standards set out by the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada as part of their 2020 Vision certification process.




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