RDKB Chair Roly Russell and B.C. Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson check out a townhouse in the new affordable housing complex built in Grand Forks off 19th Street, south of Dick Bartlett Park. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Grand Forks affordable housing units ready for occupancy

Tenants may begin moving in by early November

Dick Bartlett Park will soon be getting new neighbours, as tenants are expected to move in to the 52 units at the affordable housing complex off of 19th Avenue in Grand Forks by early November.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, B.C. Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson was joined by local politicians and stakeholders to tour the new residences which were funded through a $5.2 million provincial investment. In addition to cost investment, the province will be kicking in $670,000 annually for operations of the buildings, according to a release.

“We are in a crisis, a housing crisis that stretches right across the province in every community, not just urban, but certainly rural British Columbia too, we’ve been hearing that for some time,” said Robinson, who was on a trip through the Interior to celebrate the opening of other housing projects in the region as well.

The new homes will provide affordable housing for people across a range of income levels. Monthly rental rates will range between $375 for one-bedroom units and $1,150 for three-bedroom units, according to a release from the ministry.

“These new homes will make a profound difference in the spirits of the people who will live here and provide a hopeful feeling for all of Grand Forks that we can confront and successfully move past adverse circumstances,” said Ron Liddle, a representative from the Boundary Family Services Society. “There are lots of details yet to be attended to, but Boundary Family Services and BC Housing intend to work determinedly to have 52 families soon enjoying their new homes on 19th Street.”

Though landscaping is not complete between the three-story apartments and the fence line of the development’s neighbours at Brycen Place, the interiors of all the units are complete. Standard grey walls merge with dark brown floors in the two and three-bedroom apartments. Meanwhile, accessible units offer open-concept washrooms with no ledges between the shower and toilet/sink area, allowing users to maneuver freely.

While many of the units are snug – townhouses feature narrow hallways past the kitchen, leading to the stairs to the upper floor – there are plenty of windows to allow for natural light.

The buildings were built by Calgary-based company Horizon North, through their assembly facility in Kamloops. Joe Kiss, the company’s president of modular construction, said that it took about nine months for the project to go from contract, to design and finally to completion in September. Now, the company’s crew will turn its attention to the landscaping around the buildings.

“I see them building this into something that is really going to be something that the city will be proud of over time,” said Grand Forks Mayor Brian Taylor, about his hope for the new residents of 6895 19th St.

Just under a third of units will be for middle-income households, with annual incomes up to approximately $107,000. Half will be set aside for a range of low- to moderate-income households with annual incomes below the housing income limits, ranging from $21,000 to $96,000. (Housing income limits represent the income needed to pay the average market rent in a specific community). The remaining 20 per cent of the units will be for households with low incomes, which are up to $30,000 annually.


@jensenedw
Jensen.edwards@grandforksgazette.ca

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