BC Housing expands Penticton holdings by purchasing three motels

BC Housing buys 3 motels

UPDATE: 3:35 p.m.

Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki has responded to the news that BC Housing has acquired three motels on Skaha Lake Road with the intention of developing them into low-income housing.

The city received a letter from BC Housing advising of the purchase late Wednesday night. Vassilaki responded Thursday, in a letter posted publicly to the City of Penticton website here.

"These properties are located on a high profile corridor and in an area of strategic importance to the City. 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," Vassilaki wrote.

"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. We look forward to seeing plans and learning more about the vision that BC Housing has for these lots."

He added "on an unrelated note" that the city is still waiting for "a relocation plan for the unauthorized shelter operating at 352 Winnipeg Street [Victory Church] nor the third party audit of supportive housing facilities in the city that Minister Eby and BC Housing committed to provide in February."

ORIGINAL: 12 p.m.

BC Housing has expanded its holdings in Penticton, purchasing three motels on Skaha Lake Road with the eventual aim of combining them and a nearby apartment complex into 105 homes for people with low incomes.

The Meadowlark Motel, Sun Valley Motel and Mayfair Motel, all in the 2000 block of Skaha Lake Road, were bought for $7.9 million.

They currently provide 57 below-market rentals. BC Housing will take over those tenancy agreements, and make some minor improvements to the buildings, allowing all existing residents to stay for now.

The long-term plan is to redevelop the locations into newer affordable housing, along with Skaha Sunrise Apartments with its 48 current units, adjacent to the motels at 2872 Skaha Lake Road. That location has already been owned and operated by BC Housing since 2009.

BC Housing will need to apply to the City of Penticton for rezoning to bring that development plan to fruition. Penticton's current city council has requested an independent audit of all BC Housing supportive housing facilities currently in town before they approve another. As this new potential development does not yet have a fleshed-out plan, it is unclear whether supportive services would be part of the proposal.

Council and Skaha Lake residents have also voiced concerns about a planned BC Housing supportive housing complex at 3240 Skaha Lake Road, which does not require rezoning.

Details are sparse for now on the potential future development, with BC Housing stating they are early in the planning process, and that they will be hiring consultants in the coming months to create a plan both for the complex and for engaging effectively with the community.

In the meantime, those with questions or comments about the plan for the Skaha Lake Road properties can submit them here.

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