Recently city council faced a request from one of the agencies involved in the Multi-Agency Accommodation Project. Habitat For Humanity asked for a 10 year lease agreement. They required this in order to qualify for grant funding support for their ReStore project which was supposed to be a part of the MAAP location complex. Under the previous council the city had eagerly endorsed the project with a 5 year lease. But apparently a 5 year lease is not enough to get the grant they wanted from BC Housing. Nope a 10 year lease would be needed.
- (April 6) All the mentions of MAAP / Habitat in the city council agendas can be read in this PDF file (downloading it and viewing with the desktop Acrobat application is recommended)
- the original post was missing the 2013 council appearances and deliberations.
- The city issued a second press release on this – see end of article
From the beginning (please let me know if I missed something)
May 6, 2013 COTW meeting – Lease proposal for 7212 Riverside Drive
May 6, 2013 GF City Council meeting – decision on Lease proposal for 7212 Riverside Drive
Here is their appearance before council on Feb 11, 2014 Committee Of The Whole (An update on the status of the project)
In August they appeared before Council once again to ask for support for some banners they wanted to point to their temporary location.
At the Feb 10, 2015 Committee of The Whole
They came to make the case for the lease extension to 10 years from 5 years.
That evening council discussed it further.
At the Feb 23 meeting, when this came before council to decide, the discussion opened up into a wider on the ramifications of the real world construction on parts of this lease and what does the city really want to do with this water front property which “the only develop-able land that we have that is mixed commercial and residential” (Councilor Hammett).
In the Mar 23 meeting council’s decision was not in favour of the lease extension – they have decided to look into finding funding for short and long term transitional housing needs … the upshot is that Habitat For Humanity has said it is pulling out of MAAP. What this means for the transitional housing project and the rest of the MAAP project remains to be seen.
The city issued a press release the day of the last council meeting, Mar 23, regarding this issue. Here it is:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 23, 2015
COUNCIL SEEKS FUNDING FOR SHORT AND LONG TERM TRANSITIONAL HOUSING NEEDS IN COMMUNITY
Grand Forks, BC – At last night’s Regular Meeting, Council made a decision to seek grant funding to help determine long term planning for transitional housing in the community. This resolution has an impact on the request from the Multi Agency Accommodation Project, known as MAAP, which requested Council support a ten year lease on the current location of the project on Riverside Drive. The MAAP team came to Council early in the year asking for a lease extension on the land because B.C. Housing had ear-marked $100,000 towards transitional housing for the project, which is contingent on the lease extension of the current property.
Council made the tough decision to rethink the motion passed at a previous meeting, to support the 10 year lease, although it was contingent on grant funding and public notice. Council agrees that the partnership is an essential one in the community and the services provided are necessary. The community has a large transient population; many are marginalized and face challenges.
After much deliberation and time spent reviewing the project, Council wanted to get it right and determined that it is important to look at the current and long term impacts of transitional housing in Grand Forks. The City will be seeking grant funding to support the development of a professional planning report, which will provide guidance on the immediate and long term transitional housing needs of the community. The City will reach out to different agencies in the community for their input.
UPDATE: And they issued another press release Mar 27
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 27, 2015
COUNCIL RESPONSE TO MAAP DECISION TO DISBAND ORGANIZATION
Grand Forks, BC – At the March 23 Regular Meeting, Council made the decision not to extend the MAAP five year lease to ten years.
This council was elected to be stewards of the community, responsible for the city’s assets and accountable to all of the taxpayers and residents of Grand Forks. The decision to not extend the lease from five to ten years was in no way intended to affect the operation of Whispers of Hope or BETHS in their current location.
Council understands the benefits these organizations provide to our community, and commends the work, time and energy that has gone into the MAAP project.
After much deliberation and time spent reviewing the project, Council determined the importance of considering the long term impacts of transitional housing in Grand Forks. The City will be seeking grant funding to support the development of a professional planning report, which will provide guidance on the immediate and long term transitional housing needs of the community. The City hopes to leverage our assets in order to develop the community for sustainable growth. With this in mind, Council wanted to step back and review the actual needs of the community.
Mayor Konrad pointed out that “we are primarily a new council who has yet to develop our strategic planning strategy and are reluctant to make a decision until we have a clear idea of what our vision is for the future, and what the exact needs of the community are in regards to transitional housing.