The supportive housing project planned for the corner of Railway Avenue and Queen Street moved closer to reality after Smithers council passed the first two readings of bylaw changes to allow it.
Members of the public get to have their voices heard on the idea twice: at an open house at town hall on Aldous Street on Jan. 8 and at a public hearing scheduled to take place at Jan. 9’s council meeting.
The open house starts at 5 p.m. and is followed by presentations from BC Housing at 7 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. question and answer session with Jamie Rogers of Homeless & Housing Development Department with the Medicine Hat Community Housing Society.
The Town has been trying to build supportive housing at the site since it bought it in 2015. The Province announced funding in September for hundreds of new modular housing units in Vancouver, Surrey and Smithers.
Construction is supposed to start in the spring. BC Housing would build the project that uses modular housing to house the homeless.
Broadway Shelter would also be relocated to the housing project. The project is meant to serve as a gateway to housing by accommodating short-term stays, according to a Smithers staff report.
A new zone was created for this type of housing. The new comprehensive development zone has yet to be passed, but is meant to be one-of-a-kind and site specific for this mixed use.
An open house before the hearing is planned for the beginning of the New Year with details to come from the Town.
The results of the first online citizen budget were released at last Tuesday’s meeting.
The Citizen Budget Tax Module was made available online from Oct. 10 to Nov. 12. Sixty-five people completed the questions on what the Town of Smithers should be — or not be — spending money on.
More money for roads and sidewalks, especially for potholes, was a popular choice. It was the area with the highest number of people saying they would actually not mind paying more taxes for.
Smithers director of finance Leslie Ford said the gathered information could help get grants from other levels of government, like the Rural Dividend Fund.
“A lot of people said we’d like some more work on the Perimeter Trail, so we could use that information. It’s right there,” said Ford.