The Dik Tiy Housing Society is currently renovating the old Hilltop Inn to make low-income housing. Meanwhile, their project with BC Housing (the building in blue) across the street is on time and on budget.                                 Marisca Bakker photo

The Dik Tiy Housing Society is currently renovating the old Hilltop Inn to make low-income housing. Meanwhile, their project with BC Housing (the building in blue) across the street is on time and on budget. Marisca Bakker photo

Housing group buys Hilltop

Non-profit society to turn the old pub and inn into low income rentals.

The corner of Main Street and Sixteenth Avenue in Smithers is going to look a lot different soon.

The Dik Tiy Housing Society has recently purchased the Hilltop Inn with big plans to renovate and build in multiple stages.

Currently the society, along with BC Housing, are constructing a 19-unit apartment building across the street and would like to do something similar on the other side.

The first step is to renovate the inn and turn the hotel rooms into low income rentals while bringing the entire building up to code. The attached banquet hall is also being spruced up and accessible washrooms are being added.

Dik Tiy board director Ernie Harding expects the hall to be put to good use.

“It will be available to rent out and it will be used for programming for the special needs, or any other community group that requires a space,” he said.

The second stage includes building a whole new apartment complex beside the Hilltop, something similar to what is now going up across the street. Harding said in the long run, they’d like to tear down the inn and construct something new there as well.

Meanwhile, the BC Housing building across the street is almost complete. The three-storey residential facility will house seniors and persons with disabilities.

It will cost $5.6 million to build 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.

It is slated to be completed by end of May 2018 with paving and landscaping completed by mid-June. There were some delays due to weather constraints and forest fires, which impacted the movement of supplies and redeployment of resources.

Dik Tiy will be responsible for tenanting the building. Some of the tenants will be the society’s existing clients.

Smithers