Province purchases Victoria hotel with long-term plans to create more affordable housing
Capital City Center Hotel to provide nearly 100 temporary supportive homes for homeless individuals
The B.C. government has purchased another hotel in downtown Victoria with plans to eventually redevelop the site for affordable housing.
Until then, Capital City Center Hotel, located at 1961 Douglas Street, will serve as temporary supportive housing for homeless people in the city, many of whom are currently camping in city parks. A May 1 deadline has been given for people to leave those areas.
"Obviously, the priority is moving the remaining people who are living outside, inside," Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps told All Points West host Kathryn Marlow.
"A motel is not a home and the longer term plan, which I'm very supportive of, is redevelopment of the site for purpose-built brand new housing for people who are working in our community to people who can only pay $375 a month and who might need light support."
The province spent $25 million on the hotel and an adjacent lot.
Since April 2020, BC Housing has leased 83 of the hotel's units as temporary housing for vulnerable people in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plan is to convert 94 of the hotel's 96 rooms into temporary supportive housing. Residents already living in the hotel will be able to stay, and vacant units will be filled through BC Housing's coordinated access and assessment process, which includes those camping at Beacon Hill Park.
"Because this hotel is now in public ownership, the almost 100 people who are safely housed with supports now can breathe a sigh of relief — they won't have to move at the end of the lease," Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing David Eby said in a media release.
"It was a strategic acquisition, much like the Paul's Motor Inn acquisition," Helps said.
"Both of those are very good redevelopment sites. A lot more density can go there than what's there now."
The province said a community advisory committee will be put in place to deal with concerns from neighbours and other stakeholders.
"The province bought both of these sites not to keep them as motels for the long term, but as strategic acquisitions to redevelop them into affordable rental family housing. That will very much benefit the residents of Burnside Gorge and of downtown, for that matter," Helps said.
"In the medium to long term these will be beautiful new buildings that will house residents of all sorts and all income brackets in Burnside Gorge and in downtown."
Helps said the property will go through the proper rezoning process with council before redevelopment can begin.
"There's more momentum than there has been in decades right now and I hope to see that continue," she said.
To hear the full interview with Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, click here:
With files from All Points West