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Trail affordable housing complex takes shape

Columbia Park will house nine households of various sizes in spring 2021
The affordable housing build, called Columbia Park, is expected to be tenant-ready next spring. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Throughout the coronavirus shutdown crews quietly observed pandemic protocols as they continued construction on a vital new build - called Columbia Park - in East Trail.

The three-story affordable housing unit, located on Columbia Avenue, has really taken shape these past few weeks as it moves toward tenant-readiness in the coming spring.

Outside of COVID-19 adding layers of ongoing workplace safety precautions to the site, progress on the job has been a bit slower than initially projected due to the need for BC Housing to closely monitor design detail.

Particular attention has been directed into making sure the structure meets energy efficiency standards in addition to all guidelines specific to buildings that are three-storeys or less.

“In the end, a more efficient building will be good for our environment as well as good for tenants when it comes to paying the cost of utilities,” Jan Morton, chair of the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society, told the Times.

“We expect to start taking applications early in 2021.”

As far as applying for tenancy, Morton advises potential renters that they will need to go through BC Housing’s portal.

That said, specific eligibility details will be released closer to the end of the calendar year.

Columbia Park construction has been fully underway since mid-March.

The building will have the capacity to house nine households, in a configuration of one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

The locale is ideal as it overlooks the Columbia River, and it is within easy walking distance of a full range of commercial, health and recreation services and amenities.

The Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society (Society) will own and operate the rental complex.

The build itself was made possible by a partnership between the Society, the B.C. government, and Columbia Basin Trust.

The society is receiving $900,000 from the province’s Building BC: Community Housing Fund, as well as $3 million in construction financing and an annual operating fund.

Columbia Basin Trust has provided a $115,300 grant for the new build.

As well, the society has received contributions from the City of Trail, Teck Resources Ltd., and the Kootenay Savings Community Foundation.

“Columbia Park will provide affordable rental housing for the households in greatest housing need in the region and within the City of Trail,” Morton explained.

“These are one- and two-person households, many of whom are seniors and families, which account for 40 per cent of households in housing need in the region, more than half of whom live in Trail.”

The projected rent mix for these homes will be: two units rented for approximately $375 (one bedroom) to $570 (two bedroom) for people with very low incomes; four geared-to-income units, meaning for people with low to moderate incomes, with rent approximately $483 to $650 (one bedroom) and $771 to $1,035 (three bedroom); and three affordable market units which will rent for approximately $750 (one bedroom) to $1,170 (three bedroom).

Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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