The Cactus Court housing property was intended to have zero barriers for accessibility, but the door sills are visibly above the outer layer of concrete. It is one of the issues that BC Housing has hired a new contractor to fix. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)

The Cactus Court housing property was intended to have zero barriers for accessibility, but the door sills are visibly above the outer layer of concrete. It is one of the issues that BC Housing has hired a new contractor to fix. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)

BC Housing begins fixing issues at two Keremeos housing projects

The new plan is to have the units ready for residents by the summer

After sitting empty for months past the time people were expecting to move in, work is beginning on bringing Keremeos housing projects to livable standards.

BC Housing sent the Keremeos Review a statement on Friday, April 16, confirming that they had identified deficiencies at Cactus Court and Quail Crossing and had begun taking steps to have them fixed and made safe for residents.

The two housing projects, located at 7th Avenue and 11th Avenue respectively, were originally intended to be open and inhabited by residents in July, 2020.

READ MORE: Affordable housing projects in Keremeos continue to sit empty

The Lower Similkameen Community Services Society will operate the two housing projects once they are complete, and have been waiting alongside the list of residents who applied for housing.

“The LSCSS acknowledges that delays in construction at Cactus Court (816 7th Avenue), and Quail Crossing (417 11th Avenue) have been frustrating, particularly for those in dire need of affordable age-appropriate housing in our community,” reads a statement from the LSCSS board. “That said, we want to acknowledge that staff and volunteer board members have spent countless hours representing our citizens and future occupants in an effort to ensure that the buildings will be safe and comfortable for all residents and an asset to our communities.”

The projects are set to add 16 units at Cactus Court, and eight at the Quail Crossing expansion of the existing Mountain View Manor.

The work to fix the issues at the projects will not be done by the original contractor.

An architect and a new general contractor have been brought on to fix the two projects, with the plan to have both open by the summer according to BC Housing.

In an update provided to the Review in December, 2020, BC Housing had noted that they could not comment on the situation as the case was going through a legal process. In their statement on April 16, they repeated that message.

“BC Housing is committed to high-quality buildings that meet the long-term accessibility and safety needs of our clients,” reads a part of the statement. “We thank the people of Keremeos for their patience.”

According to the LSCSS statement, multiple independent inspectors reviewed the buildings and designs over the winter and identified items that needed to be completed before the units could be occupied.

The LSCSS kick-started their plans for additional affordable and senior housing in the area with $3.1 million they received from the province in 2016.

Eight of the units expanded the LSCSS’ existing Mountain View Manor, while the other 16 units of Cactus Court are located on 7th Avenue. The 16 units will be owned and operated by the society when they are completed, on land provided by the Village of Keremeos.

READ MORE: Ambrosia rising up to second-storey in Keremeos

Mountain View Manor and Quail Crossing are owned by the provincial housing management program and operated by the LSCSS.

The LSCSS and BC Housing are also proceeding ahead with their mixed-affordable housing complex of Ambrosia on Veterans Avenue.

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