The Dik Tiy Housing Society has asked the Town of Smithers to hold off rezoning of the old Hilltop Inn as they reevaluate the project which was to provide low-income housing. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Hilltop Inn rezoning on hold

Dik Tiy Housing plan for low-income and seniors housing could change.

The Dik Tiy Housing Society has asked the Town of Smithers to put an application for rezoning the old Hilltop Inn on hold as the society evaluates its options.

The society is proposing to redevelop the property for affordable housing, but was unsuccessful in obtaining funding from the provincial government last year, explained Dan Gorbahn, the outgoing director of the organization.

Gorbahn, however, is working on getting pre-development funding so they will be ready for next time.

“That would allow us to hire a building consultant that will work with us and BC Housing and the Town of Smithers and be able to create plans and do all of the soft cost items that will get us to the point that at the next round of announcements we would be completely ready to be able to put the tender out for construction and renovations,” he said.

Gorbahn expects the next round of announcements some time in 2020, which would mean the units would be ready for potential residents in late 2021 or into 2022.

One way or another, though, they are going to build something, Gorbahn said, even if they are unsuccessful in their next application.

“If we don’t [get funding], then that’s something that the board is going to have to decide how we’re going to go about moving the project forward, whether it’s going out and getting private funding or even selling the property and looking for something else,” he said.

In their last application they were looking at low-income and seniors’ housing, but Gorbahn said that could also change.

“The mandate for Dik Tiy Housing Society is to provide affordable housing for the residents of the Bulkley Valley, so we’re not stuck on one type of housing opportunity,” he said.

“Whatever BC Housing is willing and wanting us to move forward in this community, then we’re going to do that.”

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