BC Housing’s new affordable housing project on the corner of Main Street and Sixteenth Avenue is almost complete. Marisca Bakker photo

Affordable housing group looking for Smithers’ support

Dik Tiy Housing Society starting process to renovate old Hilltop Inn into affordable housing

Smithers council is cautiously considering giving the Dik Tiy Housing Society a letter of support to go along with their application to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation as part of their new project to convert the old Hilltop Inn into affordable housing.

This letter would accompany the non-profit society’s application for seed funding to get the planning process started to renovate the building and maximize the potential for increased availability of affordable housing.

The group made the request to council at their last regular meeting but were met with plenty of concerns and questions from councillors.

The property they own now is on the corner of Main Street and Sixteenth Avenue, across the street from the other affordable housing project dedicated for seniors and people with disabilities, which is now almost complete.

The society’s plan is to keep the banquet room to host functions, including recreation and entertainment. The upper floor will have seven bachelor suites and two one/two bedroom units. The lower floor will transform into a mixture of office, residential, storage and kitchen space with the possibility of half bedroom units with kitchenettes.

The paved portion of the parking lot will be reserved for construction of a new affordable housing project at a future date, something similar to what is going up across the street.

Deputy Mayor Gladys Attrill questioned the group’s final vision for the project at the meeting but did not dispute the need for housing in Smithers.

“The Hilltop has its own profile, and they way I understand it, you want to duplicate the building that is across the street on the Hilltop property. That changes the neighbourhood quite a lot over time. How that situates and how the neighbourhood is involved is what is sitting in front of us now,” said Atrill. “The hard part is giving a letter of support for something without knowing exactly what it is going to be, how the neighbours will feel and what that neighbourhood will look like.”

Council continued to ask tough questions about how much parking their project will need, and how many affordable housing units are required to fill the need and what the building will look like once complete.

Judy Hofsink clarified to council that the letter of support is to show the Town is supportive of the planning process, not necessarily the end project just yet.

“The letter of support is mainly for us to get funds so that we can do all these things, it is not the final say for the building but so that we can plan it, do studies and plans,” she explained.

The Dik Tiy Society has been in talks with BC Housing, who ended up footing most of the bill for the other project, and they have also completed an RFP which will be available soon.

They are currently working with the Town to rezone the property as it needs to go through a full rezoning process to allow for a higher residential density.

“That would explore those issues but the challenge is putting a lot of energy and investment into the project at the front end knowing there is potential for those issues to come up,” warned Mayor Taylor Bachrach. “It is just one of the cautions, I suppose. It is probably less of a slam dunk than the other project was.”

The price tag on the almost complete project across the street is $5.6 million and BC Housing is covering the construction and capital costs. BC Housing said the project will generate income sufficient to cover the operating and maintenance needs and the Dik Tiy Housing Society will be the non-profit organization operating the building once construction is complete.

Just Posted

Cheng² Duo bring 17th century cello to Smithers

Young brother-sister team bring original classical arrangements inspired by some … classics

Is Terrace prepared for a rail disaster?

Council asked to review surge in dangerous goods movement: “I live in the blast zone,” says resident

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

RCMP to review actions at Wet’suwet’en pipeline protest camps

Senior Mountie says he hopes protests will be peaceful following deal with hereditary chiefs

‘Tripod’ delays access to Unist’ot’en camp

Social media rumours of cultural significance quashed, meaning police “exclusion zones” should end.

Giant rotating ice disk forms in Maine river

Ice disk that is roughly 100 yards wide has formed in the Presumpscot River

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

First Nation supporters march to Horgan’s MLA office

Dozens marched across the Greater Victoria community of Langford to support the Wet’suwet’en people

Liberal candidate steps aside after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

SUV wedged on top of car in B.C. mall parking lot has customers confused

The accident occurred Tuesday, no injuries were reported

May government faces no-confidence vote after Brexit defeat

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would stay put in her leadership role

Razor burn: Gillette ad stirs online uproar

A Gillette ad for men invoking the #MeToo movement is sparking intense online backlash

Feds poised to bolster RCMP accountability with external committee

Long-anticipated move is the latest attempt at rebuilding the force following years of sagging morale

Most Read