Construction for the Fernie Family Housing Society’s North End Court affordable housing development is delayed by seven months, with the hopes of completion by late August or early September. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

Construction for the Fernie Family Housing Society’s North End Court affordable housing development is delayed by seven months, with the hopes of completion by late August or early September. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

FFHS affordable housing development seven months behind schedule, more expensive than originally hoped

Completion of the project is expected by late August or early September

The much-anticipated North End Court development in Fernie is running seven months behind schedule.

With an expected completion date in August or September 2022, Gayle Vallance of the Fernie Family Housing Society (FFHS), said it was “later than we thought.”

The original completion date was February, but progress is being made.

“We’re hoping for occupancy in early September at this point.”

The North End Court development at 302 13th St. near Isabella Dicken Elementary School is set to include 35 apartment units and 14 row houses.

It is planned to be an affordable housing complex, and for the townhouses, that label still fully applies. However, there will be a wider range of rent prices for the apartments, though they will still be in what Vallance calls the “low-end market”.

“The apartment block is more general housing, it’s not just for people with the greatest need,” she said.

“We’ll be more flexible in who we can choose for that larger building.”

Part of the reason for that is a tight budget.

Originally, they hoped that the cost would be less than the budgeted $14 million, but Vallance said that, though they are still within budget, they’re about “right on the nose” of it.

“The rents are going to be higher (than at New Horizon Village) because it’s been a more expensive project.”

“We were hoping, if things had gone well, that we would have been well below budget, and that would have resulted in lower rents across the board.”

“I must admit, we are very disappointed at the way it’s gone, that it hasn’t been as much under budget at we were hoping.”

As for why the delay has occurred, Vallance said: “COVID was a challenge. It slowed the supply chain of materials and of labour, and we’ve also experienced an increase in commodity prices.”

She said that “very few” people have pre-registered to live in the complex, “because we haven’t done a lot of advertising because we’ve been so uncertain as to when the building is going to be finished.”

“What people should do if they’re interested is to go online, and get their names onto the BC Housing Registry.”

Vallance said that people who seek registry that way will be prioritized (there is no specific registration on that website for North End Court, but for Fernie broadly), but they can also apply locally through their project manager at New Horizon Village. Either way, she said, people will have to share their financial information, and she speculated that people may be reluctant to apply for that reason.

“I would stress that people start registering.”

READ MORE: OPINION: Affordable housing project approval the right decision for Fernie

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READ MORE: Construction well underway on FFHS’s latest project

READ MORE: ‘It’s a battle’: incoming workers to Fernie face housing troubles


@fishynewswatch
josh.fischlin@thefreepress.ca

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