The residents of the condominium complex beside the old Travelodge property on the Old Island Highway that is being converted into social housing, say they are no longer concerned about what’s going in next door after meeting with the operators.
BC Housing purchased the former hotel for $5.1 million and M’Akola Housing Society will operate it as housing for low income singles and couples.
The Silversea residents had formed a committee and intended to take their concerns about this plan to city council. They were worried that the building was being turned into something they didn’t want to live beside. But Nick Illich, chair of that committee, now says they’re fine with what’s happening next door.
“We sat down with them and they pretty much cleared everything up for us,” Illich says. “We were under the impression that it would be for drug recovery and whatnot, but it’s just low-to-medium income apartments, basically. We’re fine with that.”
Rents on the bachelor apartments – formerly hotel rooms – will range from $550 to $850 per month, the group was told, and will be governed under the provincial Tennancy Act, just like any other apartment building. M’Akola has also promised the residents, Illich says, that the grounds will be properly maintained and will have a caretaker on-site – at least during the initial stage.
“They also promised they are going to put in a good-neighbour fence. They basically answered all our questions and we don’t have to go to council to try to halt any permits, because they’re not doing anything that needs permits. They’re just basically putting a microwave, a hot plate and a refrigerator in each room, and that’s it.”
Illich says he does wish someone would have approached the tenants next door a bit sooner, he understands why they didn’t.
“I asked about that, and they said it happened pretty quick on their end, too,” Illich says. “And in a way, they didn’t have to approach us at all, really, because there’s no redevelopment or anything happening.”
M’Akola told the Mirror last week that there is no timeline on the opening of the housing block to renters, but Illich says they were told at their meeting the complex would be taking renters starting “early this fall.”