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2014-07-29 at 15:48

Breaking ground

By Kathleen Charlebois, for
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THUNDER BAY -- The sound of volunteers shoveling gravel  was a sign for two local families that a new home is on the way.

This year's Habitat for Humanity construction project on Hodder Avenue officially broke ground Tuesday. The house will be semi-detached and will house to two families with children. Thunder Bay Insurance, which is now known as Gillons Insurance, employees raised $70,000 for the project over six years.

Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay CEO Diane Mitchell said the project was originally started in June, but was delayed due to weather conditions.

"We're catching up and with some good weather we'll be right back on track," she said, adding that the house, once built, will not be prone to flooding. That assurances comes  after weekend flooding in the area.

"It's a giant hole in the ground. We certainly never had any problems with flooding on a regular basis for Habitat houses. They're built like every other house … if not better, and we don't have problems with the houses flooding once they're built."

Along with the money raised, the property the house is being built on was donated to Habitat for Humanity by Janis Whatley, who worked as a registered insurance broker and underwriter for Thunder Bay Insurance for 31 years.

Whatley, along with her three sisters and two brothers, gave the lot to Habitat after David Baxter, the general manager for Thunder Bay Insurance, said he needed a lot to build the house the company was raising money for more than six years ago.

The project litterally hits close to home, as Whatley and her family grew up in the house next to the Habitat construction project.

"Five of us, plus our parents, lived there since around 1947 or so. About two years after, I was born."

The project is expected to be completed by December at the latest. The names of the families who will live in the house have not been officially released yet.



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