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REPORTING · 4th May 2015
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council saw a presentation from the Mountainview Housing Society on Monday, April 15th. Pastor Don Read stepped up to the table to address Council.

“Mountainview Housing Society exists as a not for profit society here in our community and exists for the sole purpose of addressing the need for affordable housing for seniors as well as members of our community which have physical mobility issues,” said Read. “We believe that the issue of affordable housing in our community is really a community issue.”

He explained one of their first goals was to create strategic partnerships in Kitimat and they are still working on them.

He said the Mountainview Housing Society received a loan so they could do an environmental study on the property and it showed there was a need for a further study. He came before Council to request a grant of up to $30,000 to do both the Geo and Environmental studies.

They have determined they could build up to 30 units on the property. They are also in discussion with industry to produce some affordable units. They wish to solidify this partnership and any budgets.

They are asking for up to $30,000 because they are trying to get a matching grant from BC Housing and if Council is generous, they do not have to apply. Councillor Mary Murphy offered to help them find grant money.

Councillor Larry Walker asked about soil contamination which might be in the area. He was told there was confusion over what was on the property. There may have been a substation there but it is unclear because of no documents. They do want to build on contaminated ground and they want to have the study done by the end of June.

Murphy asked if all the housing would be earmarked for seniors and persons with disabilities. The response was the Society was trying to find corporate sponsors willing to help fund the project.

“Initially, there could be a certain amount of unit that are set aside for industry which then, after the five year lease is up will fold into affordable housing, but it will offset a significant amount of the project as well,” said Read.

He explained to Council they are still working on their business plan.

Rattee asked if the units will be rentals or sales, as well as where the money to build the units will come from. The reply from Read was they would be affordable housing. BC Housing is excited about the project and may provide some financing. They are also looking at other ways to help pay for the houses, such as through leasing units to private industry in the short term to help offset the costs.

Murphy offered the following advice: “During the industrial boom, industries tend to look after themselves and it’s the poor and the vulnerable that seem to get put aside so when you’re putting your business plan together, I hope that you’re addressing those issues.”

Councillor Rob Goffinet asked about the contamination and inquired if the District could have a record as to what was there. The reply was they did not look into it. However, the District does have photos dating back years… but if there was no information, there was no information.

If they discover they could not do affordable housing if the cost cleaning up the contamination raises the price too high, they might sell the property at a lower cost to do market value housing and look at another piece of property. They want to make affordable housing. In this case, they would return the money to the District.

Council determined to put off the decision to a later date. It will come up again tonight at Council.
finally someone has stepped up
Comment by bill on 4th May 2015
Council has begged for affordable housing for the most vulnerable....let's get on with it so we will be ready for the next boom.