Plans are moving ahead for a 24-unit housing project in the District of Barriere.
The B.C. government, in partnership with Yellowhead Community Services Society, this month approved funding for the project, which will provide much-needed affordable rental homes for people who are on moderate and low incomes in the Barriere area. The housing project is one of 50 new projects selected through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund (CHF).
Jack Keough, director with Yellowhead Community Services, said the project will address a near housing “crisis” in Barriere, particularly for seniors. The new housing units, slated for Barriere Town Road between the old grocery story and search and rescue office, will also be open to families, Indigenous peoples and people with disabilities.
“For the community, it’s going to address a significant housing situation,” Keough said, adding the project has been on the books for the past two years. “We’re pretty confident there will be a significant interest among the seniors’ population.”
Keough said the project is in the final stages now is expected to go out for tender by the fall. It typically takes three to five years to get a project built, but Keough said the high cost of construction and the lack of labour and materials could push the project back.
Barriere Mayor Ward Stamer agreed it likely won’t be built on schedule but said it’s exciting news for the district, saying a housing analysis had shown a “significant shortage” of rental units in the area.
“In the entire region, from Kamloops to 100 Mile House, we all in the same boat,” he said. “With the influx of housing prices, people are buying up houses and kicking the renters out. That’s very unfortunate.
“Hopefully with what’s happening in construction we can get it done in 24 months.”
The facility will also include a private child care, which will offer 24 new licensed child care spaces, including eight infant/toddler spaces and 16 spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten. The facility will also have a garden to grow fruits and vegetables which will be used for snacks or provided to families.
David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, said the new housing units are among more than 2,600 new affordable rental homes to be built in 42 communities throughout the province. The CHF is part of the province’s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan. It is an investment of $1.9 billion to build more than 14,000 affordable rental homes for moderate- and low-income families and individuals over 10 years. Three and a half years in, more than 8,800 of these homes are already open, under construction or in development.
“We’re making good progress in addressing the housing crisis for all British Columbians, and there’s more to do,” Eby said in a media release.