Innovative Project Provides Range of Affordable Housing Solutions
After several years of uncertainty, Pete Peters now has a stable, affordable home in the mountain community of Fernie, British Columbia, thanks to the first public-private partnership by BC Housing. The project was developed by Veneto Place Properties Ltd., a partnership of Parastone Developments (a private developer), Columbia Basin Trust, BC Housing, the City of Fernie and Fernie Family Housing Society.
In 2005, Pete’s apartment became unaffordable as a result of building renovations. The former carpenter was on a disability pension following an injury. His only option at the time was to share a mobile home with friends.
He then found a one-bedroom apartment at Veneto Place. Because of his injuries, Pete’s balance isn’t good, so he occupies one of the 12 accessible units at Veneto Place.
In the early stages of the project, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) provided Seed Funding, as well an interest-free Proposal Development Funding loan, which helped cover some of the upfront development costs.
Because Veneto Place Properties Ltd. had a shovel-ready project, it was able to take advantage of funding provided under Canada’s Economic Action Plan (CEAP) when the program was announced in 2009. With almost $1.8 million in joint federal and provincial funding under CEAP, the new project offers a range of housing options, including rental and ownership units in three condominium buildings. The combined federal and provincial funding through CEAP supported the construction of 12 subsidized units, which are owned by BC Housing.
BC Housing supported the project by providing $7 million in interim construction financing. The City of Fernie provided more than $338,000 in subsidies, and the Columbia Basin Trust contributed a grant of $4.5 million.
“I thought I was on top of the world, working steady, before my health went,” Pete said. “My income dropped from $2,600 a month to $900 a month. You’ve got to be working steady and making a good wage, because rents are high. I was making myself sick worrying about where I would live. This has taken a big load off my mind.”
“The rent is very reasonable here,” he added. “I’ve got money left over at the end of the month. I get along great with the other people. The location is ideal.”