Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki is ‘encouraged’ about BC Housing’s plans to convert four motels on Skaha Lake Road into low income housing.
In a response letter to the province, Vassilaki said he’s looking forward to seeing what BC Housing has planned for the motels, especially if it is for seniors and families.
“These properties are located on a high profile corridor and in an area of strategic importance to the city,” said Vassilaki.
“Our expectations around redevelopment are that the community and our planning and technical staff are involved from the onset and that the plans align with the direction outlined in our Official Community Plan.”
“We are encouraged that the intent of this purchase is to provide workforce, senior and family housing which is in great need in our community as is well documented in our Housing Needs Assessment.”
Vassilaki has long been saying that Penticton needs affordable housing for families and seniors.
He also added in his letter to the province a question to Eby.
“On an unrelated note, we have not yet received a relocation plan for the unauthorized shelter operating at 352 Winnipeg Street, nor the third party audit of supportive housing facilities in the city that Minister Eby and BC Housing committed to provide in February,” the mayor wrote.
The city only found out Wednesday that BC Housing had purchased the three motels at the cost of $7.9 million. BC Housing already owns and operates the fourth motel, Skaha Sunrise Apartments since 2009, which will also be renovated. It is housing for people with low incomes and those at risk of homelessness.
BC Housing has purchased the Meadowlark, Sun Valley and Mayfair motels on Skaha Lake Road. These motels currently provide 57 people with affordable homes. BC Housing will take over these leases so that current tenants are not displaced.
But the city will need to approve a rezoning application for the sites.
The motels and apartment buildings are old and need extensive and ongoing repairs, said BC Housing. It makes more sense to redevelop the properties with new buildings, said BC Housing earlier on Thursday.
BC Housing is also building supportive housing for the homeless at 3240 Skaha Lake Road.
BC Housing said they are in the early planning process but are committed to keeping the community involved and informed during the redevelopment.
In the coming months, they will be hiring consultants and assembling a team to create a redevelopment plan. They also claim they will connect with current residents, neighbours, businesses, and the community at large.