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EDITORIAL – Time to start putting social housing in different parts of the city

(Image: CFJC)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THERE’S GOOD NEWS and maybe bad news in the City’s purchase of the Northbridge Hotel, formerly the Village and now commonly known as the Duchess for its bar.

The old hotel has seen better days. Once it was a going concern, a nice hotel with nice rooms, a nice coffee shop, a popular lounge and an even more popular beer hall. It was, in some ways, the hub of the North Shore.

But the years have not been kind. So the prospect of redeveloping the site is welcome. The City has paid $7.1 million for the property, including a lot behind the hotel. A handsome price but not an unreasonable one considering its prime location.

The plan is vague but involves market housing for the hotel and affordable housing on the empty lot. That’s where the potential bad news comes in. The intention is to involve BC Housing in ownership of the lot.

The City’s news release referred to “affordable housing supply” but the question is whether that actually means more social housing. BC Housing has a clear strategy of establishing social housing in inner city environments.

That makes sense, in one way. Those in need of housing and support naturally congregate in urban cores, partly because that’s where services are located. But as we’ve seen time after time, it makes problems worse.

And, it doesn’t have to be that way. The Victory Inn on Halston is an example of social housing that isn’t in the center of retail activity but is close to transportation and neighbourhood amenities. And it works fine.

Surely, the North Shore has done its share in providing social services and housing.

There’s no reason social housing can’t be distributed elsewhere in the city. Social housing is badly needed but it’s time for other parts of town to start shouldering more of that responsibility.

City Hall needs to keep that in mind when dealing with BC Housing.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (8485 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on EDITORIAL – Time to start putting social housing in different parts of the city

  1. Dear Mel,
    Once again you’re spending too much time in your armchair and not getting out and about to know and experience what’s really happening in your beloved city.
    Let me give you a “ 3 part word tour” please:
    1) there is more social/affordable/ supportive housing downtown than on the NS;
    2) many many More people are being helped to stabilize their challenging lives than are causing problems;
    3) There is 0% affordable rental inventory in Kamloops- rental prices have doubled in less than ten years and it will get worse in the years to come
    Try and go out more Mel,,, Vitamins C ( l’avouèrent) & D (Isco very)sare good for your health – body & MIND !

  2. It all should be planned in such way that not only housing for all kind of incomes are fairly even distributed but also in such a way that most basic needs are conveniently attainable with a relatively short walk, or a bicycle ride or with public transport. Instead it keeps getting worse. The planning and its politics need heavy scrutinizing and I am not sure the current council, made up of too many subservient individuals, is up to the task.

  3. Beverley Merrick // October 5, 2021 at 6:26 PM // Reply

    I was told North Kamloops cannot have anymore stores such as Walmart. This is so absurd and what about free enterprise? We have almost nothing here save for homeless and now more social housing? Enough.

  4. Ah…..official recognition at last that the north shore is the Thompson valley ghetto. .I await the day when such concern for the underprivileged in our city will be focused on Sahali or elsewhere south of the river…..however… a step in the right direction . Property over there IS expensive.

  5. L Dawne Taylor // October 5, 2021 at 2:02 PM // Reply

    I totally agree with you Mel. Social and affordable housing needs to be spread in other areas, near shopping and buses. Something near TRU would provide that.

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