The province has stepped up with funding for Duncan Manor’s renewal project.
The Ministry of Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing recently announced funding for 47 affordable housing projects across B.C., including the project planned for Duncan Manor, from the Building BC: Community Housing Fund, although the amount the society will receive has yet to be released.
A ministry spokesperson said the final dollar figure for the renewal project will be confirmed once the final design of the new facility is completed and the construction contract is finalized, but noted that the project is part of the government’s investment of $1.9 billion over 10 years in affordable rental housing through the Community Housing Fund.
The non-profit Duncan Housing Society, which operates the Manor, a three story, 122-unit building on First Street that offers below-market independent housing for seniors and persons with disabilities, had applied for funding in January from the CHF program for work that could see an entirely new, expanded facility at the site with approximately 300 units when completed.
Cheryl Jones, chairwoman of the society, said the DHS has received a letter from BC Housing, which is in charge of the CHF program, in support of the renewal project.
She said the DHS is still in the earliest stages of the project, and the design team is currently going through the procurement process with the rezoning application for the site.
Jones said the next steps include receiving final approval for the project from BC Housing, acquiring development and building permits, and then the construction and occupancy of the new facility for all current tenants who wish to participate.
“The naming of the project will also be explored in conjunctions with Cowichan Tribes, once we have the opportunity to meet, and on whose traditional territory Duncan Manor operates and resides,” she said. “As of today, we are not sure when the project will begin, but as soon as we know, we will be communicating through our website, and with public announcements.”
The current Duncan Manor is more than 50 years old and the aging plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, and other components of the building are showing wear and tear after decades of use.
The DHS entered into a memorandum of understanding with the City of Duncan in January that would see a land swap for the portion of the nearby Lawn Bowling Club currently owned by the society, for a portion of the city’s Centennial Park parking lot to make way for the construction of the new building on a portion of the parking lot.
The current parking lot is proposed to be expanded northward to maintain the same number of parking spaces, while access to the park would be moved to Second Street.
Some members of the community have raised objections to the possibility of losing a section of Centennial Park if the project proceeds as planned.
In this round of funding, the CHF program will provide funding that will see approximately 2,455 rental homes for individuals, families, seniors, people with disabilities and Indigenous peoples throughout the province.
“Every one of the affordable homes announced today are desperately needed and will change the life course for thousands of individuals and families in the decades ahead,” said Jill Atkey, BC Non-Profit Housing Association CEO.
“The community housing sector looks forward to working with municipal partners to ensure these new homes are built as quickly as possible.”