The Cool-aid Society’s Kathy Stinson describes the redevelopment of the former Tally-ho Hotel and lands into social housing, and commercial space.

“Affordable housing along the back, and there are five stories of affordable housing.”  With an anticipated 150 units to be constructed at this location, demand will be high, according to Stinson.

“We anticipate that that there will be way more demand for these units than availability.”

And it’s projects like this that received the green light from the province today, as it announced half a billion dollars in funding for dozens of affordable housing projects.  In Vancouver, Premier John Horgan announced the B.C. government will spend nearly half a billion dollars to build 4,900 units over the next two to three years,

“I’m very proud, today to announce that the first batch of housing under the community housing fund, 4,900 new units of affordable housing, have been approved,” Horgan announced.

Included in those 4,900 units province-wide are Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands where 20 projects will be funded, resulting in more than 1,200 units. Some of the larger projects on the island include five developments in Victoria that will create an additional 588 units. In Nanaimo 121 new units will be built in three projects.  And Port Alberni will see two projects creating 87 news homes.

With one of the tightest rental markets in the country, hundreds of new affordable housing units is welcome news in Victoria according to Mayor Lisa Helps. “These 588 units will certainly make a dent, but certainly there is still more work to do. We need many more units to come,” Helps said.

The government is aiming at a two to three year schedule to build the 4,900 units. That’s not a problem for the construction industry.

“As far as the construction sector is concerned, we’ve always had the ability to respond. We have ample trades on the island to deliver these projects,” according to Rory Kulmala, CEO of the Vancouver Island Construction Association.   “We can always use more, but I think the ability for us to react is there.”

With the province aiming at spending $7 billion on affordable housing over the next ten years, many, including Stinson, feel this is a good start. “Yeah, I think this is the beginning of something that’s really good.”

Mary Griffin