By David F. Rooney
In the17 months since the Community Housing Society applied for a $2 million affordable housing grant from BC Housing, the federal government and the Columbia Basin Trust in August 2012 it has seen its application whittled back to $1.6 and then $1.4 million.
If it finally begins — as many hope — later this year, the project will be the first truly affordable housing development in Revelstoke. The monthly rents are expected to be $500 for the one-bedroom units and $800 for the two-bedroom units. That’s a far cry from the society’s first project, a duplex on oscar Street whose three-bedroom units rent for $1,200.
Society Chairman Mark McKee is still confident that they’re going to receive about $1.4 million to build four-one bedroom and eight two-bedroom condo-style units at Bridge Creek Properties on Oscar Street. But he would simply like the CBT and BC Housing to come right out announce the grant.
“We’re still working through the process,” he said in an brief interview on Friday, January 17.
“This project is going ahead. We’re just waiting on the announcement.”
And therein lies the problem. BC Housing and the CBT are, for reasons no one here can explain, reluctant to announce the grant at this particular point in time.
The grant the Housing Society is waiting on is one of ten that were being made to different communities in the Columbia Basin under a $10 million Affordable Rental Housing Initiative involving the CBT, the province and the federal government. The initiative was unveiled on March 2012 and second intake of project applications began in April 2013. $5 million of that money is coming from the CBT.
However, getting straight answers out of BC Housing about the timetable for announcing these projects is difficult. Questions put to the CBT were forwarded to BC Housing and a ministry spokesman, who asked not to be identified, would say only that “funding announcements and details about individual developments will be released as the projects move through the approval stages,” hardly a straightforward response.
The following eight societies were selected by BC Housing to support their proposed affordable rental housing projects, along with the current status of the projects:
- Creston Valley Community Housing Society – In development;
- Family Resource Centre of Invermere – In development;
- Elk Valley Family Society, Fernie – In development;
- Nelson CARES Society – In development;
- Salmo Supportive Housing Society – Under construction;
- Elk Valley Seniors Housing Society, Fernie – In development;
- Revelstoke Community Housing Society – In development; and
- Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society, Trail – In development.