Major renovations planned for Washington Inn Apartments in Courtenay

Province doles out nearly $5 million affordable rental accommodation project

  • Jun. 19, 2019 10:30 a.m.

Some major renovations have been announced for the Washington Inn Apartments – a social housing rental facility in Courtenay.

“People living in social housing deserve safe, secure and energy efficient homes,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “These upgrades mean people will have a better quality of housing at a rent they can afford, so they will be able to stay in their homes and in our community.”

Renovations at Washington Inn Apartments are funded through the Province’s Capital Renewal Fund.

The Province is providing approximately $4.7 million in capital costs associated with the renovation project.

Improvements include installation of a sprinkler system, as well as mechanical and interior upgrades, such as kitchen and bathroom renewals.

Residents will move in phases into vacant units in the building, while work is conducted on their own units. After the renovations are complete, residents will move back into their own units.

“There are 15 vacant units that are being used as temporary housing for residents whose apartments are being renovated,” said Andrea Coutts, senior communications advisor for BC Housing. “As units became vacant, they were not re-rented in anticipation of these renovations. The goal was to be able to provide on-site alternative housing for residents.

Using a phased approach, residents will move into temporary units while their unit is being renovated. Once they move back into their completed unit, another set of residents will move into the temporary units and so on. No one will be required to leave the Washington Apartments due to the renovations.

The renovations will be done in phases by floor, approximately 12 units at a time. Each phase is expected to take approximately six weeks.

“When the renovation project is complete, the vacant units will be rented as soon as possible,” added Coutts.

A social enterprise, CleanStart, has been hired by BC Housing to begin work at Washington Apartments in July 2019. They will help residents prepare for their move, pack unit contents and provide building janitorial services.

“CleanStart is providing an opportunity for people to learn employable skills, while being involved in housing supports in their communities,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “These projects and partnerships are essential to reducing poverty in B.C. through the creation of stronger, more affordable communities that provide people with better opportunities for their families.”

“We’re delighted to assist BC Housing with this exciting renovation project, particularly because it allows us to provide some great social employment opportunities in the area,” said Luke Coad, business development manager, CleanStart. “If anyone is interested in working with CleanStart on this project, we would love to hear from them.”

Renovations are expected to be completed by spring 2020.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Washington Inn not what BC Housing boasts

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