It’s been a project with 15 years of work behind it, but if certain requirements aren’t met, the Lilac Terrace expansion project may fall through.
By September 15, the group is required to submit a letter to B.C. Housing confirming that they have the funds necessary to move forward with the expansion. As of September 2, the group was short $200,000.
Delegators for the Lilac Terrace board attended the Sparwood City Council meeting on Tuesday evening with an update on the current fundraising shortfalls.
“Our goal was to raise $400,000,” explained Ernie Cook, Lilac Terrace board member. “As of today, we have $133,000 sitting in the bank with roughly another $75,000 expected to come in.”
Cook continued, “That’s why we’re here this evening, to let you know there will be a shortfall. Working with the district, we want to come up with ways to overcome this.”
The Lilac Terrace expansion will include the construction of 12 new apartments added to the west end of the building, as well as the construction of two community rooms designated for palliative or respite care for Terrace’s residents and updates to the Terrace’s kitchen area.
The group was ecstatic when, last October, the District of Sparwood agreed to pony up $1 million towards the estimated $3.6 million construction costs for the project. Of that $1 million, Teck gave $200,000 to the project and the group is seeking permission to use that $200,000 to make up the difference, intending to pay back the loaned money through further fundraising efforts over the 12-month construction period.
“We will be asking the district to help us bridge over while we’re waiting for our funds to come into place. Whether that means a loan or what,” said Cook. “But in order for B.C. Housing to give us the green light, they need to know that we have all of our ducks in a row.”
“What you’re saying is you’re in need of a letter saying that the district will stand behind that money, but you’re more than willing to pay that money back,” summarized Coun. Sharon Fraser.
Coun. Fraser was adamant that council not drop the ball on this issue, as the September 15 letter deadline coincides with the next Sparwood City Council regular meeting.
“Something has to move sooner than that,” insisted Coun. Fraser. “I think we need to have a special meeting of council to guarantee that this thing doesn’t go south.”
“And if it does,” she warned, “I guarantee that we’ll never get it back up for who knows how long. What we’re dealing with is a matter of days for the letter. I think it’s important we understand how imperative this whole thing really is. We haven’t got the time that we think we have.”