$26.3 million youth and senior housing project set to begin in Terrace

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The project is expected to be the largest non-profit initiative in the city’s history

Ground-breaking for a building to provide a permanent home for a youth health and wellness service and rental housing for seniors could take place this fall — or next spring depending upon final drawings and specifications.

“Right now there’s a team of 19 people working on the final details,” said Terrace and District Community Services Society excutive director Michael McFetridge, adding that everything from electrical wiring to water pipes needs to be properly sited for construction drawings.

At five storeys — the first for the youth Foundry service and the remaining four for seniors housing — the building’s location on the vacant lot on the corner of Eby and Park is perfect for both needs, said McFetridge. The community services society will be responsible for its operation.

For both young people and seniors, an easily accessible location within the downtown core will appeal to each age group, he said.

The ground floor Foundry, which is part of an expanding provincial network, will have two medical treatment rooms, private rooms for counselling, a commercial kitchen and accompanying eating area and space for other activities for youth from 12 to 24.

The service is temporarily housed at the community services society’s headquarters building on the corner of Eby and Lazelle, right beside the new structure.

Fourty-three units of low-income rental housing for seniors will take up the second to the fifth floors, responding to the growing need as more seniors are choosing to stay in the area.

The complete project budget is $26.3 million, making it the largest project to be undertaken by a local non-profit society in the city’s history.

B.C. Housing, the provincial government’s housing agency, is providing the lion’s share at at nearly $21 million to cover the cost of the four floors of senior housing.

That left the Terrace and District Community Services Society having to raise the rest.

A series of successful grant requests has now put the society into the position it can start construction, said McFetridge.

“We will still have a deficit but that will be mostly for outfitting the [Foundry] space, but not being able to start is not an impediment anymore,” he said.

One benefactor just recently helped close the society’s financing gap and more details will follow, McFetridge added.

“They came to us and asked how they could help,” he said.

And just two weeks ago, the City of Terrace council approved a donation of $100,000 from the city’s affordable housing fund to pay for off-site infrastructure and road costs that were not part of the original budget.

“I just can’t say enough about the council’s support for the project,” said McFetridge in adding that current mayor Sean Bujtas and predecessor Carol LeClerc lobbied the province for financing.

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