Area C Director Larry Binks, Alex Nilsson (chair, Kootenay Region Association for Community Living), Michelle Mungall (Nelson-Creston MLA and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources) and the Columbia Basin Trust’s Renee Ambrosone did the ceremonial turning of the sod for a nine-unit housing project for people with disabilities at Spectrum Farms on Friday.

New housing project for Spectrum Farms

Eric and Donna Kutzner worked with Kootenay Region Association for Community Living to create Spectrum Farms.

Early in this decade, the former Endicott Centre sat largely unused, home only to the therapeutic riding program.

But all that changed when volunteers Eric and Donna Kutzner worked with Kootenay Region Association for Community Living to create Spectrum Farms.

Last Friday, an enthusiastic crowd gathered to witness the announcement that the deteriorating Cedar and Linden Place building will be razed to create a nine-unit affordable rental housing project for low-income adults with disabilities.

“Affordable housing is the foundation of healthy communities, and these new homes will have a big impact for the people who live in them,” said Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston.

Now home to a variety of social enterprises, Spectrum Farms will soon include a building with six one-bedroom and three two-bedroom units built to adaptability and accessibility standards that meet the needs of low-income renters with a disability. A new common lounge, kitchen, and outdoor deck will also be included in the building renovation.

The rental units will be managed by the KRACL, which submitted the original project proposal to BC Housing.

“BC Housing and Columbia Basin Trust are helping us to turn a building that was long past its useful life into safe, secure, affordable housing for some of the Kootenays’ most vulnerable citizens,” said Alex Nilsson, chair of KRACL.

Rita Scott, the emcee for the afternoon event, gave credit to Heather More, who has been instrumental in previous affordable housing projects, for her tenacity and commitment.

The project will be primarily funded with $2.3 million from the Province of British Columbia, and Columbia Basin will contribute $250,000.

“This project is part of the support we are providing communities to increase the availability of affordable housing in the region,” said Johnny Strilaeff, president, and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “This funding will help provide low-cost housing to vulnerable residents in the Creston community, and is one of many ways we are working with basin communities.”

Construction, as well as tenant selection, is expected to be complete by fall 2019.

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