Provincial minister of transport and infrastructure Claire Trevena, who is also MP for the North Island riding, was at the opening of a new social housing project in Campbell River on Friday. Photo David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Provincial minister of transport and infrastructure Claire Trevena, who is also MP for the North Island riding, was at the opening of a new social housing project in Campbell River on Friday. Photo David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

‘A place to call home’: New housing project opens in Campbell River

Renovated motel to accommodate low- and moderate-income people in 39 units

A new 39-unit social housing facility opened in Campbell River on Friday amid a housing crisis marked by escalating rents and low vacancy.

Terry Rose, the building’s resident caretaker, said that people moving into the building are happy just to have a roof over their heads, as he showed the Mirror one of the humble units of the former seaside motel.

“Everyone’s quite happy to be here,” he said. “(It’s) the fact they have a place they can call their home.”

Sixteen people have already moved into the 39 units of the former Travelodge at 340 South Island Hwy., and the building is expected to be full by the end of January, said Kevin Albers, the CEO of M’akola Housing Society, a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing primarily to Indigenous people.

Rent for each single-occupancy apartment is $500 per month, a price that’s well below the going rates in Campbell River. Hydro and water are included, but not Internet or telephone service, he said.

READ MORE: Former Campbell River hotel to be converted into low-income housing

READ MORE: Campbell River supportive living facility celebrates 25 years amid housing crunch

READ MORE: Neighbours’ fears about Campbell River Travelodge property alleviated

The Mirror viewed a modestly furnished studio apartment, which contained a double bed with a dresser and a television, and two bedside tables.

A kitchen counter was equipped with a mini-fridge, a hotplate and a microwave, and the small bathroom was newly renovated and included a full-sized bath.

The facility was previously expected to open in fall 2017, and Albers attributed the delay to problems including “the surprises that you uncover in a renovation” and finding contractors.

“In this marketplace – just a booming marketplace in residential construction – being able to find trades to actually do the work is very challenging,” he said, adding that similar problems have cropped up elsewhere in the province.

People apply for subsidized units through BC Housing, which evaluates need based on a number of criteria, including income. M’akola Housing Society then places people from that list into apartments as they become available, said Albers.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said in a statement that elders from the Indigenous community and other seniors, along with people with physical disabilities, would be among those who benefit from the new facility.

The building is owned and operated by the M’akola Housing Society, and the province provided $6.5 million in capital funding for the project, according to the statement.

A committee of residents at the neighbouring Silversea condos initially raised objections when the housing project was announced last year, saying they had been left in the dark about plans and arguing that it would reduce their property values.

Following a meeting with officials behind the project, the committee said their concerns had been alleviated, and during speeches by dignitaries at the outdoor opening event on Friday, a Silversea resident waved to the assembled crowd from their window.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena – who is also the New Democrat MLA for the North Island – said the new facility was a much needed project, especially for Indigenous people.

“People are struggling to afford a place to live,” Trevena said. “It’s especially true for Indigenous people, who we know are more likely than the non-Indigenous to be living in unsafe or overcrowded homes.”

A report on regional housing needs released earlier this year by the Strathcona Community Health Network said that rent in Campbell River has increased by 42 per cent over the past decade. Meanwhile, the vacancy rate has plunged from seven per cent to 1.3 per cent.

The report notes that seniors are among the most vulnerable when it comes to housing, along with people on low incomes, First Nations people and those with mental health or addictions issues.


@davidgordonkoch
david.koch@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Terry Rose, resident caretaker for a newly-opened housing project at 340 South Island Hwy., said residents are glad to have a place to live. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Terry Rose, resident caretaker for a newly-opened housing project at 340 South Island Hwy., said residents are glad to have a place to live. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Just Posted

A slide on best practices when reporting a suspected impaired driver that was presented to Parksville city council on June 7 by Margarita Bernard, a volunteer with MADD. The organization’s Report Impaired Drivers campaign involves the installation of informative signs within the City of Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
MADD brings campaign to report impaired drivers to Parksville

Aim is to raise awareness that 911 should be called

Pam Bottomley (executive director), right and Sandy Hurley (president) of the Parksville Downtown Business Association visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Downtown Parksville gears up for post-pandemic bounce back

Podcast: Hurley, Bottomley chat about what’s ahead for the PDBA

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

(File photo)
Crime report: Crooks busy pilfering bikes throughout Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Thefts among 295 complaints Oceanside RCMP deal with in one-week period

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

A still image from security camera video recorded June 8 shows an individual lighting trash on fire in the doorway of 19+ Cannabis Store on Victoria Crescent. RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue are investigating numerous fires set in downtown Nanaimo in the past three months. (Photo submitted)
‘It’s out of control’: More than 20 fires set in downtown Nanaimo in past 3 months

Authorities asking business owners to keep dumpsters locked

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Most Read