By Jaime Polmateer
The official groundbreaking for the Clearwater and Area Affordable Housing Project took place last week, where representatives from Yellowhead Community Services (YCS) and the District of Clearwater put shovels in the dirt, signifying construction is underway.
Representatives from D and T Developments, the construction management company for the project, Richard Hunter Architects and ATCORR Consulting were also in attendance for the groundbreaking ceremony.
YCS will manage and operate the 26-unit facility, which will be available for low income families, seniors and persons with disabilities.
“It’s exciting. We’ve been working toward this for a lot of years, so we’re really pleased that we were able to make this happen for the community,” said Jack Keough, executive director of YCS.
The facility is expected to open in late spring or early summer of next year, though YCS will start taking rental applications as early as fall 2018.
Keough said the project has been in the works for roughly four years, starting after a homeless study was done by YCS.
The organization did some local canvassing on the topic of homelessness to find out what kind of need there was in the area, the results of which showed the need was there, and YCS determined there wouldn’t be any difficulty in filling the 26 units of the facility.
Shortly after the study was finished in 2014, the organization started looking at the possibility of an affordable housing project, and slowly started pushing toward the goal.
“We got some funding from CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation) to do a feasibility study in early 2016 and that’s when we hired a consultant to help us,” Keough said.
“We completed that study, and that study became part of our submission to B.C. Housing.”
Later that fall YCS was told its proposal was accepted and received funding for the project, which is being built on Park Drive, next to the Clearwater Library and across the street from the existing Woodside apartments.
Mayor John Harwood, who was at the groundbreaking ceremony, praised the project, adding the facility will be a welcomed addition to Clearwater.
“It’s wonderful; I can just imagine what it’s going to mean to the tenants that are going to have the opportunity to move in here, how it’ll enhance their lives, and their social experiences will just grow as a product of this endeavor,” he said.
“It’ll give a standard of living right within a locale where people can walk to the store, the library, the medical centre and so it starts to fill in the core of the town a little more.”