The provincial government is spending $2.5 million to buy the Mumford’s Lodge property west of the city along Hwy 16 to house tenants from the mould-infested Coachman Apartments building on the bench which became all but uninhabitable when frozen water pipes burst there shortly before Christmas.
Up until now, BC Housing has been paying for hotel rooms for former Coachman residents.
More than 50 people were affected but the Ksan Society has found places to live for five families while other families found their own accommodation, BC Housing indicated. There are now 12 households requiring housing and none have children.
The former motel property is two storeys with 19 one-room units containing kitchenettes.
Any units not occupied by former Coachman residents will be offered to others needing a home who are registered on a BC Housing database.
The Coachman situation became more complicated when its owner passed away shortly before Christmas.
Tenants there had been saying for some time that the building was not being maintained properly.
Tours of the structure revealed not only mould but ice formations growing out of electrical sockets, a fire alarm going off on one of the upper floors and door frames in disrepair.
Eventual ownership of the apartment building and what happens next remains uncertain.
“With this purchase, we’re able to provide stability to the people previously living in the Coachman who hadn’t secured permanent options,” said B.C. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon of the Mumford’s purchase.
Terrace Mayor Sean Bujtas expressed his appreciation for the purchase, saying the city is committed to providing more housing in cooperation with the provincial government.
He said the city is letting people move in as quickly as possible and the only requirement on the part of the city is changing the zoning from commercial to allow the building to be used as a residence.
“As far as we know it’s in good condition,” Bujtas said.
Following the water pipes bursting just before Christmas, Bujtas said the city was in regular and consistent contact with the province to find workable solutions for the tenants.