Fruitvale Village Council outlined their Beaver Valley Middle School development plan to the community in September 2020. Photo: Jim Bailey

Province to fund Fruitvale affordable housing project

Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society will manage construction of 28 new housing units

The Village of Fruitvale along with 41 other communities across B.C. will receive funding from the provincial government for the construction of affordable rental homes.

The province announced that more than 2,600 new affordable rental homes are coming for people with moderate and low incomes throughout the province.

Fruitvale leased the former Beaver Valley Middle School (BVMS) property to Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society, who will manage the project, and the funds will go towards the construction of 28 new housing units.

“It really will be their project,” said Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette. “It’s on Fruitvale land, but they received notice from the Community Housing Fund (CHF) that it was funded.”

The first phase of the affordable housing development will be built along the lower portion of Columbia Gardens Road.

Morissette says that the village is responsible for the demolition of the B.V. Middle School, and is pursuing more funding to take down the school before proceeding with Phases 2 and 3.

“BC Housing has with that funding, they have committed one-third of the cost of demolition, because that particular part of the development will be on one-third of the land.”

Phase 2 and 3 will see the construction of market housing at the current site of the middle school and behind it up to Green Rd.

“We’ve been applying for grants left and right, but nobody wants to fund a demolition, they want to build something,” said Morissette. “We’re exploring every opportunity that we have to find money and take the thing down.”

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 8,600 of these homes are already open, under construction or in development, including the nine-unit Columbia Park affordable housing building in Trail.

“These new homes mean that thousands of families, seniors and Indigenous peoples in our province will enjoy safe, new, affordable homes,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “These homes are part of the nearly 30,000 affordable homes now complete or underway in every corner of the province, building on the significant momentum as we recover from more than a decade of underinvestment in housing by the old government. We’re making good progress in addressing the housing crisis for all British Columbians, and there’s more to do.”

A total of 50 new projects have been selected through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund (CHF). The fund will provide 2,655 rental homes for individuals, families, seniors, people with disabilities and Indigenous peoples throughout the province.

“Every one of the affordable homes announced today are desperately needed and will change the life course for thousands of individuals and families in the decades ahead,” said Jill Atkey, CEO, BC Non-Profit Housing Association. “The community housing sector looks forward to working with municipal partners to ensure these new homes are built as quickly as possible.”

The CHF supports mixed-income buildings. These projects have:

* 50% of the units for households with annual incomes up to $64,000;

* 30% of the units for households with incomes up to approximately $74,000; and

* 20% of the units for households with very low incomes (including those on income or disability assistance).

More than 1,000 of the new homes will be for Indigenous individuals, families and Elders.

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