By Daniel Betts
Seniors and disabled in McBride have an affordable local housing option thanks to the innovation and hard work of three levels of government. On Thursday, October 13, 2011, local residents gathered at 1170 5th Avenue to witness the official opening of McBride Mountain Manor, which consists of 10 modular housing apartments built specifically for seniors in need and people with disabilities.
“It seemed like a forever journey to get to this point, but we got here,” declared Mayor Mike Frazier during the opening ceremony.
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Shirley Bond was on hand to help cut the ribbon and had much praise for the Village of McBride. “I just want to say a really big thank you to this council and our mayor. They actually led the charge, not just here in McBride but basically for the whole province,” said Bond during a speech in which she thanked the many contributors to the success of the project. “When we first looked at it through B.C. Housing, it would have been a very expensive and probably impossible task to build units like this across the province so some very creative work was done.” Bond enthusiastically acknowledged the contributions of the Minister Responsible for Housing, Rich Coleman. “Rich went out of his way to find a way to build these [units] at more manageable costs for small communities like ours.” Bond conveyed Coleman’s regrets for being unable to attend the event. Bond also mentioned Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River, Bob Zimmer and his predecessor Jay Hill for their contributions in the effort to make the project possible.
While Zimmer was unable to attend he was happy to comment through email. “It is great to see construction completed on McBride Mountain Manor,” said Zimmer, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). “The opening of this housing facility allows seniors and those with disabilities to stay at home in McBride.”
Mayor Frazier thanked both Bond and Coleman, “without them and their federal partners, none of this would have happened.” Frazier spoke of the contributions of the McBride Community Forest Corporation who provided funding for water and sewer services. Frazier also acknowledged the contributions of Village of McBride, Chief Administrative Officer, Eliana Clements. “Eliana was a huge part of this. We come up with these wild ideas and Eliana makes them happen,” said Frazier. Frazier explained the significant partnership with the Northern Health Authority, which resulted in a valuable land swap for the new facility.
“We recognize that the need for supportive living facilities for seniors close to home is important across the North,” said Cathy Ulrich, CEO of Northern Health. “We were pleased to partner with the community of McBride to ensure that the land was available for this new facility.”
According to the Village of McBride, the Government of Canada contributed $742,000 to support the construction of McBride Mountain Manor. The Province of British Columbia provided $886,000 for this project. The Village of McBride provided the land, through the land swap with the Northern Health Authority.
The Senior’s Rental Housing initiative is a result of a $365 million joint investment between the federal and provincial governments with the goal of developing approximately 1,300 new affordable rental housing units in small communities across British Columbia.