Tuesday April 22, 2014

Major upgrade for affordable housing

B.C. and federal governments kick in $3.9 million for renovations to aging apartments
Murray Mitchell

Rene Perry of Thompson Valley Roofing is part of a crew replacing the roof on the Sunder Green apartments building at 230 Clapperton Rd. The building is one of two slated for major renovations.

Senior governments are investing more money in two North Kamloops apartment blocks to extend the life of affordable housing for 70 families.

A total of $3.9 million in renovations to the Sunder Green Apartments, which include two 35-unit buildings at 230 Clapperton Rd. and 335 Mulberry Ave., are already underway.

Joint funding was granted through the federal-provincial housing initiative, a three-year agreement that expires next year.

Renovations include roof, door and window replacement, repairs to balconies and flooring, kitchen repairs and security system upgrades.

B.C. Housing, which manages the properties, does not expect that tenants will have to vacate their apartments during the renovations. If it is necessary, they will be temporarily accommodated in a vacant unit.

The same apartment blocks underwent upgrades two years ago when they were operated by the Door to Roof Society. At the time, only half of the 70 units were considered to be in a livable state.

Dawn Hrycun, president of the society, said the province provided them with $5.6 million to purchase and upgrade the buildings, with $600,000 of that sum going into upgrades. After those were complete, occupancy increased to about 90 per cent, but that figure began to decline in the absence of further improvements, she said.

The full cost of bringing the apartments up to an acceptable standard was far greater than the society could afford, so it negotiated a transfer of ownership to B.C. Housing.

“Their position was that if they were going to put that much money into it, they needed to own it,” said Hrycun, adding that the move was in the best interest of taxpayers.

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