The grand opening of two new affordable housing facilities were celebrated in downtown Quesnel today.
The first was the Dakelh & Quesnel Community Housing Society’s development at 424 McLean Street.
Malachy Tohill is the Regional Director with BC Housing…
“This new housing project, Kikihnaw, will bring 38 new affordable units to this community. It’s homes for low to moderate income individuals, indigenous peoples, seniors and families. The government Canada and BC provided a combined investment of 1.6 million dollars, and the province through BC Housing also provided 5.5 million in grant money.”
Luanne Routsalainen, Executive Director for Dakehl and Quesnel Community Housing, talked about what they home to achieve with these types of facilities…
“We started out very tiny with 10 units and now we have built up to almost 200 units of homes for people to be able to call their home, and that’s what we try to do when we have our housing, it’s not just to build a beautiful building and say here we go, we want it to be people’s homes. We call this building Kikihnaw, and in Cree that means “our home.”
Routsalainen also noted that they are planning another building, this one a 27-unit clean and sober living facility beside Milestone Manor on Front Street, that they hope to have shovels in the ground on by September or October.
There was also a ribbon cutting for the Quesnel Lions Housing Society’s new 30-unit facility for seniors at 255 McNaughton Avenue.
Mitch Vik, President of the Quesnel Lions Housing Society and now a City Councillor, said that it was called Silver Manor, in honour of Ron Silver, who passed away in 2017…
“The Quesnel Lions had a dream of taking on a major project in our community. The late Ron Silver, a prominent lion that some of you knew well, spearheaded a community survey which focused our club on what our next big project would be. The survey results were very loud and definitive that our community wanted affordable housing, and they wanted it for seniors, and the community wanted it now.”
Vik said that never in the Lions Club’s 70-year history has a project so consumed us, defined us and driven us, at times to the breaking point.
He credited the former Liberal Government for more than three million dollars in funding, as well as the City, BC Housing and the community that also made major donations in the form of buying bricks.
Mayor Bob Simpson, speaking about both projects, noted that housing was a big part of the community’s transition that is underway right now..
“And that’s the full spectrum of housing from shelters to supportive housing to affordable housing and into market housing. And as many people here know we’re working on a comprehensive housing strategy that brings all of these pieces together and gives us a road map going forward.”