The Capital Regional District has made a deal to purchase 22 properties from the provincial government to be used as affordable housing.
The total cost of the acquisition is about $10 million, which the province has committed to reinvesting in local housing projects.
“By buying out the properties, we’re better able to manage them together,” said Robert Lapham, chief administrative officer for the CRD.
The 22 pieces of land are already under a 30-year lease and managed by the CRD’s subsidiary Housing Corporation. The buildings on them are owned by the CRD and hold 538 affordable housing units, which are managed in partnership with local non-profit organizations.
Lapham said the real estate sale value of the land is about $30 million but the existing lease devalues that — which is why the capital region got the price it did.
“B.C. Housing felt it was more effective to have the non-profit housing providers take ownership of the land,” Lapham said. The capital region housing corporation already owns 23 properties with more than 700 units on them.
It used cost savings from non-traditional housing in the hospital budget, reallocated some funds and borrowed to make the purchase.
“This will improve long-term, sustainable planning. It allows us to consolidate our portfolio, look at redevelopment and reprioritize,” he said.
Lapham said he did not know exactly where B.C. plans to redirect the funds from the sale but noted there are several affordable housing developments underway in the region that are looking for provincial funding.
“The need for affordable housing in the region is increasing steadily and safe and affordable housing is essential to health,” said CRD board chairman Nils Jensen, who is also mayor of Oak Bay. “I am pleased that we have the opportunity to take advantage of a good use of tax dollars in support of this important priority.”