The province, through BC Housing, has purchased the two-lot property at 209 16th Avenue North to set up a permanent homeless shelter in Cranbrook.
Provincial officials said renovations to convert the former fitness facility into a 40-bed shelter should be done by late 2023.
Nearly two years ago, this property was rezoned by city council to be used as a shelter.
BC housing was concerned about spending around $600,000 for renovations in a leased building.
MORE: Cranbrook’s year-round shelter is coming… eventually (De. 6, 2022)
They decided to look for other options or purchase the land itself.
They have chosen to do the latter, investing $4.4 million for the purchase and renovation of the property.
They will also be spending an additional $1.6 million in annual operating funding.
“This purchase ensures vulnerable members of the Cranbrook community have access to safe and secure shelter spaces with supports, year-round,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing.
“Our government will continue to take decisive action through our Permanent Housing Plan to ensure people experiencing homelessness receive the housing and supports they need, when and where they need them.”
Community Connections of Southeast BC currently has offices in the building.
They are a non-profit that works with the unhoused population in Cranbrook and operates programming and services at the Travelodge.
They will continue to work out of the building and operate the new shelter.
Provincial officials said staff will be on site around the clock to provide guests with support services.
“Community Connections is grateful and excited that this project is going ahead,” said Nancy Reid, executive director, CCSBC.
“The community has been looking for signs of progress towards a permanent shelter and this brings us closer to seeing that happen. This is an important step in developing a continuum of housing in Cranbrook.”
Once the new shelter is up and running, the guests staying at the Travelodge will be transitioned there and the Travelodge shelter will then close.
In a statement from the city, Mayor Wayne Price had this to say.
“On behalf of council, I want to thank the province and BC Housing for their investment in the City of Cranbrook,” he said.
“This purchase represents a commitment to Cranbrook, and
demonstrates that the Province is taking action on the issue of homelessness, something that we have been advocating for. Today’s announcement shows that Premier Eby and the Province recognize our concerns and is committed to working with us on social issues.”