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BC Housing spending more than $15 million on Terrace, B.C. housing projects

New housing, converting buildings and maintaining buildings on the list
CONSTRUCTION fencing is up at the former Cedars Motel which is to be converted into low income housing. Margaret Speirs photo

THE provincial government’s housing agency, BC Housing, is poised to spend more than $16 million on new housing, converting existing buildings for housing and maintaining buildings it already owns here this year.

The largest project is a three-storey, 45-unit structure on the southside 4600 Block of Haugland to be owned and managed by the Ksan House Society and to be open to lower income people paying rent fixed to income.

Plans are to start building this summer, but a final construction cost for what will be the new housing complex has yet to be set.

To date BC Housing has committed $8 million to be followed soon by a mortgage in the area of $5 million for the building, which will be located immediately adjacent to Ksan’s existing shelter and residential complex on Hall St.

The city is providing in-kind value amounting to $200,000 to offset the costs of development and building permits and water and sewer service upgrades.

Newly-sworn in Skeena BC Liberal MLA and housing minister Ellis Ross said the amount of money being spent in Terrace is significant.

“These are real changes for real people,” said Ross.

“It’s not just here, it’s all over,” he added, saying that his ministerial briefings have indicated that since 2001, $6.3 billion has been spent on affordable housing in B.C.

“I had a general knowledge in terms of Kitimat and Terrace, but no idea of what BC Housing really does province-wide,” he said.

The City of Terrace owns the land on which the project will be built but is leasing it to Ksan for $10 a year for 60 years and Ksan is to be the owner of the building. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation also provided $10,000 to put together the initial proposal for the project.

Ross was also impressed with a second BC Housing project, the $1.4 million purchase and planned $700,000 conversion of the former Cedars Motel on Hwy16/Keith Ave. close to the Sandman Inn into living units with an emphasis on stable housing for single people.

“Single-residency occupancy, that’s housing that’s needed in Terrace and also in Kitimat,” said Ross, referring to a similar project in Kitimat to convert the former City Centre Motel.

The building will be managed by the Terrace and District Community Services Society and rezoning has already been received by the city.

Crews have been demolishing some parts of the former motel to better give the contractor and others an idea of structural, electrical and mechanical condition of the building.

The city has yet to issue permits and there is no firm start or completion date yet.

The plan is to put in place 21 residential suites, some for people with limited mobility, and a caretaker suite and an office.

Ross said the experience and knowledge of his predecessor as housing minister, Rich Coleman, now energy and mines minister, was evident in reviewing the details of his new portfolio.

Money for the Cedars project is coming from both the provincial and federal governments.

As well, BC Housing is spending approximately $1.3 million through contractor Yellowridge Construction at the 39-unit Willows apartment on Kalum to replace the exterior cladding and windows and to improve drainage, with waterproofing below the building’s grade.

That’s a continuation of a 2011-12 project fixing balcony siding and sliding glass doors.