On Apr. 11, City of Fernie mayor and councillors met with the residents of Trinity Lodge to talk about how the lodge’s residents will be affected during the transition to being mortgage free.
“When they started in 1981 they had an operating agreement with BC Housing and they had a mortgage,” said Corrie Hurlburt, a Trinity Lodge representative who was speaking at the retirement home. “As of June 30 our mortgage is paid out so that means our operating agreement with BC Housing ends the way we know it today, which allows us to do something different.”
The Fernie Trinity Lodge will be going through some minor changes behind the scenes, however, many things will remain the same. Since 1981 the Fernie Citizens Housing Society has owned the Lodge and will continue to do so even through its transition. The Board of Directors for Fernie Citizens Housing Society will continue to be the City of Fernie council members. The Lodge will also continue to be for seniors that are 55 years old and older and for people with disabilities. Val Drader will stay on as property manager and BC Housing will continue to play a role in managing the lodge.
“The bottom line is, what you currently pay will pretty much stay the same but how we get to that number will look a little different,” said Hurlburt.
What will be changing is the Fernie Citizens Housing Society is buying the land that the Trinity Lodge is on with assistance from BC Housing. BC Housing is more flexible allowing Fernie Citizens Housing Society to make beneficial changes for everyone in the Operating Agreement.
The majority of tenants will be eligible for a Shelter Aid for Elderly Residents (SAFER) from BC Housing, this will further offset costs for residents by covering the portion of increased monthly rent. The Lodge will also be putting aside $2,400 per-year for the residents to collectively put towards tenant activities or improvements.
“The only difference between today’s rent and August 1 is that if your pension goes up we are going to get a little bit more; just the same as if we carried on as normal, which is 30 per cent,” said Hurlburt