Council asks Hydro for affordable housing support

By David F. Rooney
Council has agreed to ask BC Hydro, which is embarking on the installation of Turbine 6 at the dam, for $250,000 to help develop its affordable housing project.
“While the economic impact of installing a new turbine at the Revelstoke dam is generally positive, there are some negative impacts on the community,” Community Economic Development Director Alan Mason said in a report at Council’s last regular meeting.  The report underpinned a request to Council from the society.
“One of the negative impacts relates to the pressure that is put on the supply of affordable rental housing due to the influx of a large, well-paid temporary workforce. During the installation of Turbine 5, many local residents were displaced from rental accommodation process as property owners raised rents to cater to the new market of renters.”
Hydro responded to those municipal concerns by contributing $250,000 to the society, which used the money to construct its first project — a duplex on Oscar Street.
Should BC Hydro agree to this request, the money will be used to help cover the costs of construction for the 12-unit development on Oscar Street.
That project is expected to begin within the next two months and is expected to cost $1,949,960. The society has major grants from BC Housing and the Columbia Basin Trust to finance that, however, foot dragging at City Hall over the last two years has resulted in an increased cost of more than $160,000. While the group is currently looking at ways to trim the projexct’s cost, a grant from Hydro would go a long way towards ensuring its success.
Rents at the townhouse-style project are expected to be $550/month for a single bedroom unit and $750/month for a double.
Council also agreed to a request that the City waive permit fees estimated t be in the $60,000 – $70,000 range for the project.The affordable housing project is being constructed at Bridge Creek Properties, a parcel of land that is owned by the City at Oscar Street and Powerhouse Road.
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