Excitement is starting to build as the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association’s affordable housing units move forward.
“There’s so much happening behind the scenes right now,” explains Jennica Graham, vice president of the LRCA. Graham and Marsh Stevens who is on the Building Committee say they are working on the final budget which BC Housing will still need to sign off on.
“At this rate we hope to get the shovels in the ground in the spring,” says Graham.
While cost is always a factor, it’s important to the group to make an attractive building that the community will be proud of. Architects are looking to incorporate some of Ladysmith’s design features into the plans.
“It’s not just a place to live but where we do things together for the future tenants and the community,” says Stevens. Being able to provide people with secure affordable housing will allow a deeper more meaningful positive change in their lives.
The 36 housing units, a combination of mainly one bedroom and studio suites, and two 2 bedroom suites will house seniors, persons with disabilities and low income renters..
We’ve had really positive feedback, says Graham. “Everyone realizes how it’s such a tough housing market today.” But the building goes beyond just housing. It’s about building community. The design will incorporate a meeting room for the community, gardens, and a commercial kitchen.
Stevens says the economics of 40-65 new residents will have a positive impact on the local economy.
The LRCA Housing Project was recently nominated for a Ladysmith heritage award. The awards sponsored by the Ladysmith & District Historical Society recognize the businesses, individuals and societies that have paid a key role during the year in their actions or initiatives in preserving or promoting local heritage.
The LRCA is one of the first nominees received, thanks to the special attention they paid in preserving the bell and cross from the St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church prior to the vacant buildings demolition in September. The parish had closed the church some years ago and sold the site to the LRCA in 2017, the diocese removing items of interest from the building.
Due to structural issues and asbestos contamination it had to be demolished – but not before the LRCA arranged for the bell and cross, which had both stood in place since 1910, to be saved in the Museum.
The spirit of community will live on at the site as the LRCA will be developing it for much-needed affordable housing for seniors, low-income families and persons with disabilities.
The award recipients will be announced during February’s BC Heritage Week.