More affordable housing construction kicks off in Saanich

More affordable housing construction kicks off in Saanich
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WATCH: More affordable housing is on the way for renters in Saanich. Construction on a new, 73-unit building is set to begin with the help of the province and local districts. But as Kori Sidaway reports, they say this is just the beginning.

Shovels are breaking ground once again for more affordable housing in Saanich.

“I’m delighted to stand with our provincial and local partners to celebrate a significant next step in this project,” said David Screech, mayor of View Royal and chair of the Capital Region Housing Corporation in the opening ceremony.

Looking to make another dent in the affordable housing crisis, a 73-unit building in Saanich will go up by 2020.

“This is going to allow individuals and families to find more affordable housing that currently doesn’t exist at the moment,” said Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell.

Real estate on the Island has been steadily increasing for years. The higher price tags and low vacancy rates have left people like Darren Mellet needing alternatives.

“I lost both of my legs within three years. Ya, I wasn’t really counting on this. It was very drastic,” said Mellet.

Mellet has lived in affordable housing for almost half a year. For him, it’s a temporary solution, but he’s grateful for the roof over his head.

“This place came up and they said to me, look, places are so limited, you better take this place, you better take it now!” said Mellet.

“Because there are not very many places for people in my sort of situation.”

And with newfound provincial government support, local politicians say this is just the beginning.

“Well there’s no doubt to a certain extent we’re playing catch up,” said Screech.

“There were far too many years when there wasn’t enough of an investment being made by all levels of government, and clearly we’ve seen that’s not good enough, and there’s going to be major investments in the next year or two and that’s the start of that.”

The CRD and  Saanich say they’re not worried about the downtown construction crunch affecting timelines, and with interest rates going unchanged, they say this is the ideal time to build for those who need it the most.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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