City council aims to buy BC Housing’s (BCH’s) Second Street site, formerly at the centre of the agency’s contentious plan to build a supportive housing facility in Grand Forks’ downtown core.
A unanimous resolution at council’s regular meeting Monday, Feb. 14, directed staff to make a formal purchase request to the agency. Staff will come back to council with more information at a later date.
BCH bought the site at 7382 Second St., in the fall of 2018, according to Coun. Everett Baker, who put forward Monday’s resolution. A proposed land swap would have seen BCH give the site to the city in exchange for the city’s so-called “Moto” site on Morrissey Creek Road, where both parties hoped to build a permanent homeless shelter and a supportive housing facility.
Moto was formally taken off the table last November, months after a site survey turned up archaeological remains left by ancestral First Nations. The proposed land swap remained a possibility, but Baker said Tuesday, Feb. 15, that such a deal was unlikely.
The Second Street site was worth an estimated $162,000 as of July 2021, according to BC Assessment.
Baker said Tuesday that BCH are currently “exploring their options” for an alternate site, but declined to specify potential locations. All parties — including housing minister David Eby — have ruled out the temporary homeless shelter at the Old Hardy View Lodge.
“Whether it was right or wrong, that’s what we decided,” Baker told The Gazette, explaining that the shelter and supportive housing facility would go on the same site, wherever that is.
BC Housing said last November it would not build supportive housing at its Second Street site.
“I am confident that there’s a piece of property out there that will facilitate both the shelter and the supportive housing facility. We will find that and it will come to council before a public hearing,” Baker said.
Speaking for Boundary Family Services, which operates the temporary shelter, Executive Director Darren Pratt said Tuesday, “We would like to see safe, sustainable housing in our community and the region. No matter where it goes, it’ll be a compromise between community need and the needs of our clients.”