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Queen Charlotte council supports funding application for eight-unit townhouse

Application being developed by Heritage Housing Society, M’akola Development Services
At their regular meeting on Monday, April 20, 2020, the Village of Queen Charlotte council approved a motion to grant a letter of support for a funding application being developed by the Queen Charlotte Heritage Housing Society and M’akola Development Services for an eight-unit townhouse complex that would replace the derelict duplex at 609 Second Ave. (pictured). (Karissa Gall/Haida Gwaii Observer)

More affordable housing for seniors and young families may be coming to Queen Charlotte if a funding application for a proposed townhouse complex goes forward.

At the Village of Queen Charlotte regular meeting on April 20, council agreed to provide a letter of support for a funding application being developed by the Queen Charlotte Heritage Housing Society in partnership with M’akola Development Services.

Together, the two organizations are pursuing a townhouse development project for affordable housing at 609 Second Ave., a property owned by M’akola that consists of four full-sized, serviced municipal lots. It currently has one derelict duplex housing unit, one older mobile home and at least one abandoned vehicle.

If their funding application is approved after being sent to BC Housing, Heritage Housing Society president Greg Martin said they hope to tear down the derelict duplex and establish an affordable, eight-unit townhouse complex, “which will hopefully include a childcare centre.”

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At the Monday meeting, Queen Charlotte Mayor Kris Olsen and several councillors verbalized support for the proposed project before voting to provide the requested letter.

“Nice that they can potentially get that underway,” councillor Richard Decembrini said.

“I think it’s a great thing to support,” councillor Lisa Pineault added.

“Yeah it is good news,” Olsen concluded.

“It’s a win-win I think. Everything we had hoped is going to happen and somebody else is going to do it.”

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After emphasizing that the proposed project is in the preliminary stages, Martin told the Observer the duplex has not been occupied for over eight years and something must be done to get the property back into the local housing inventory.

“We have an aging demographic and we have a greater need for seniors housing,” he said, noting that with the addition of a childcare centre, the proposed townhouse complex could suit a mix of seniors and young families as tenants.

“Housing is tight here for everybody.”

Due to the state of the duplex, he added, they are looking at demolishing it and replacing it with modular housing to keep potential costs down.

“The duplex is in really bad shape. The roof needs replacing. Both furnaces need replacing. There are holes in the walls,” said Martin, who toured the interior of the building with M’akola in November 2019. “It would be the better part of a million dollars to renovate.”

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