The Cactus Court housing property was intended to have zero barriers for accessibility, but the door sills are visibly above the outer layer of concrete. It is one of the issues that BC Housing is currently working on with the contractor for the project. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)

The Cactus Court housing property was intended to have zero barriers for accessibility, but the door sills are visibly above the outer layer of concrete. It is one of the issues that BC Housing is currently working on with the contractor for the project. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)

Affordable housing projects in Keremeos continue to sit empty

Cactus Court was supposed to be finished around July this year

Despite plans to have residents move in back in July, the Cactus Court affordable housing development in Keremeos is still empty.

The Cactus Court, at 7th Ave. and Quail Crossing at the back of Mountain View Manor at 11th Ave. have both been stalled ahead of completion.

The Cactus Court project was promoted on a June 15 Facebook post by BC Housing as being close to completion with residents able to move in beginning in July, 2020.

READ MORE: Community housing projects hit wall in Keremeos

That hasn’t happened, and the properties continue to sit vacant, leading to growing concerns and questions from the community.

“Of course people who have been on the list, they will be disappointed,” said Mayor Manfred Bauer. “It might cause hardship to some people who have taken action in anticipation of moving in there, it’s common sense. We are hoping that BC Housing can solve the issues with the contractor so that people can move in there as fast as possible.”

In an official response from the board on Dec. 1, the Lower Similkameen Community Services Society noted that they do not have an update on the specific activities by BC Housing on the work moving the projects to completion.

A response from the B.C. Ministry of Attorney General, which is also responsible for providing B.C. residents access to affordable housing, sent on Dec. 3 thanks the people of Keremeos for their patience and notes that BC Housing has some concerns about the two properties.

“BC Housing is working to resolve issues with the Cactus Court and Quail Crossing projects that are delaying occupancy by tenants. We cannot comment further on this case as it is going through a legal process. We will provide an update to the public once that process is over,” reads the response.

The projects were started with plans by the LSCSS for additional housing after receiving a $3.1 million grant from the province in 2016.

That grant went towards funding eight units to expand the LSCSS’ Mountain View Manor, with the rest of the funds going towards 16 units at Cactus Court.

The Cactus Court units will be owned and operated by the society when they are completed, on land provided by the Village of Keremeos.

Mountain View Manor and Quail Crossing are owned by the provincial housing management program and operated by the LSCSS. Mountain View Manor currently provides 26 fully occupied units, and Tumbleweed Terrace, another LSCSS run development, provides 16 full units.

READ MORE: Affordable housing project in Keremeos a community initiative

The response from the LSCSS board also noted that they currently receive funding from BC Housing to provide support services and rental supplements for market rental housing to assist some of the most vulnerable members of the community.

The LSCSS is also currently underway with construction on their 43-unit Ambrosia development in Keremeos, which broke ground in March.

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