New Westminster co-op getting a break from city hall

Council in brief

A housing co-operative that’s undertaking a $2.2-million renovation and upgrade of its complex is getting a helping hand from city hall.

Council has directed staff to reimburse the Brow of the Hill Housing Co-Operative for fees and charges paid to the city, as part of a renovation that’s being undertaken to extend the life of its complex by 30 to 40 years. The funds, which were paid to the city for building and minor development permits, would total $32,319.

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The complex provides 37 units of below-market housing and seven units of subsidized housing. Council directed staff to reimburse the fees and charges using money in the city’s affordable housing reserve fund.

Coun. Chuck Puchmayr said there are some “real challenges” related to maintaining and keeping co-op properties in good repair. With senior levels of government having abandoned funding of co-ops, he thinks this a responsible move by the city as it will help ensure children and families have quality facilities to live in.

Mayor Jonathan Cote said the city is doing lots of work on the affordable housing front, but it often focuses on supporting new affordable housing and loses sight of existing affordable housing.

“I think this is a perfect example of how that fund can be used to support an existing co-op that is supporting non-market affordable housing in our community,” he said. “I think it is a really appropriate use of that fund to help and assist with the current projects that co-op is undertaking.”

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