A sneak peek inside the affordable housing project

By David F. Rooney

Revelstoke’s first community housing project is almost ready for its first tenants, says Community Housing Society Chairman Mark McKee.

“We could have people living here November 1,” he said as he provided The Current with a tour of the duplex on Oscar Street.

Each of the two units has 1,150 square feet of living space and will be rented for $1,100 a month. Each has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a very nice kitchen, dining room and living room.

“This is a clean, safe, energy-efficient and affordable project,” McKee said, adding that it was also “brought in under budget and ahead of schedule.”

As he and Murray Velichko of Frisby Ridge Construction, the company that has been completing the detail work on the duplex, walked through the units, McKee said the society deserves real credit for accomplishing this first step towards the larger goal of ensuring that Revelstoke doesn’t go through the same kind of housing crisis it went through a few years ago.

“People Like Peter Bernacki, Albert Van Goor, Glen O’Reilly and the members of City Council who are on the board, all deserve credit for pulling this off,” he said. “It hasn’t been easy, but they did it.”

Her thanked Okanagan College, BC Hydro, H&J Ready Mix, Jake & Jay Holdings, Nu-trend Construction, Frisby Ridge, City Furniture and the Rotary Club for their roles in helping make the project a success. The college provided the apprentice carpenters who built the structure, BC Hydro put up $250,000 in seed money for the duplex, City Furniture gave the society “a great deal on appliances,” the Rotary Club is paying for the landscaping that will be done on the property next spring and Nu-trend, Frisby Ridge, H&J and Jake & Jay all helped with the construction.

“Now that we have this in place, there’s just the matter of what we do next,” McKee said. “We’re not in the same position we were in a few years ago (when rents and real estate prices soared through the roof ) but we have to be concerned about the future. The question we all have to ask ourselves is this: When we look at the future of Revelstoke do we want to find ourselves in that situation again?”

For McKee and the Housing Society, the answer is simple: “No.”

“That’s why we have to keep moving ahead, planning and finding ways to pay for our housing projects so they’re not a burden on our taxpayers,” McKee said.

There will be a grand opening for this project at noon on Thursday, October 28. If you are interested in applying to become one of the first people to occupy these units please send an e-mail to communityhousing@revelstokecf.com. In the meantime, here are some photos of the interior of the duplex:

Mark McKee, chairman of the Revelstoke Community Housing Society, and Murray Velichko of Frisby Ridge Construction, pose in front of the city's first affordable housing project. The duplex s virtually completed and will have a grand opening on October 28. David F. Rooney photo
Mark McKee and Murray Velichko discuss the work done in the kitchen area of one of the duplex units. David F. Rooney photo
This is a view of the living room and entrance way as seen from the kitchen. David F. Rooney photo
Murray Velichko shows off a piece of the vinyl flooring — which he says is "virtually indestructible" — used in the kitchen, dining room and living room. David F. Rooney photo
This is a view down the hallway. The bedrooms, the main bathroom and a small laundry are all located along this corridor. The bedrooms and hall are all carpeted. David F. Rooney photo
This is one of the two bathrooms in each unit. The other is an en suite off the master bedroom. David F. Rooney photo
Mark McKee inspects the boiler in ground-floor unit. That unit has in-floor heating. The top unit has forced air. David F. Rooney photo
Blair Brennan completes some of the last-minute work in the top-floor unit. David F. Rooney photo
This is one of the master bedrooms. Each unit has three bedrooms. David F. Rooney photo