Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

July 23, 2009 23:59 ET

Affordable seniors housing breaks ground in Squamish

SQUAMISH, BC, July 23 - The governments of Canada and
British Columbia, along with community partners, broke ground today on a
$14-million, 84-unit housing development for seniors and persons with
disabilities in Squamish, creating close to 141 direct and indirect jobs.

The funding was made available as a result of a $365-million joint
investment under an amendment to the Canada-British Columbia Affordable
Housing Agreement, which includes funding through Canada's Economic Action
Plan and by the Government of British Columbia. As part of this joint
investment, the Seniors' Rental Housing (SRH) initiative will provide $123
million to develop up to 1,000 new affordable rental housing units, which will
help to stimulate local economies in smaller communities across B.C.

"The Government of Canada is committed to making affordable housing
available in British Columbia and across Canada for those who need it most,"
said MP John Weston, West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, on
behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills
Development Canada and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation (CMHC). "Today's launch provides Squamish seniors with quality and
affordable rental housing that meets their needs."

"Seniors need affordable rental housing options so they can continue
living in the communities they call home," said Joan McIntyre, MLA for West
Vancouver-Sea to Sky. "Through this partnership with the federal government,
we're increasing the supply of affordable rental housing for low-income
seniors in Squamish and across the province while stimulating local
economies."

For this new seniors project, the Government of Canada and the Province
of British Columbia are contributing $4.35 million for 30 affordable housing
units to Squamish Riverstones Developments Ltd. The project as a whole is also
receiving financing in the form of a $7.8-million CMHC insured mortgage and
interim construction financing provided by the Province.

In addition, the District of Squamish will amend its bylaw to waive
development cost charges and will not require off-site and frontage servicing
costs valued at approximately $521,000. This will reduce the overall capital
cost, making the project possible.

"Our community will benefit from this much-needed rental housing for our
seniors, the accessibility-challenged and families. We will also benefit from
the jobs that will be created from construction," said Greg Gardner, mayor of
the District of Squamish. "We recognize the value of partnerships in creating
affordable rental housing and believe partnerships are even more important
when creating housing in a rapidly growing community like Squamish."

Sea to Sky Community Services Society (SSCSS) will operate the 30 units
through an agreement with the Province, with the remaining 54 units being
leased from the developer for 40 years.

"Through the operation of this housing development, our role in the
Squamish community will continue to expand and grow," said Shawn Jones,
president of SSCSS. "We're pleased that we will be able to support and assist
Squamish seniors and people with disabilities and make a difference in their
lives."

Bethel Lands Corporation, a local developer, through Squamish Riverstones
Development Ltd., is providing developer cost reduction valued at
approximately $1.4 million.

"This development is breaking ground today because of the power of
partnerships," said Michael Hutchison, president, Bethel Lands Corporation.
"We need to acknowledge the hard work and effort of our federal, provincial
and municipal leaders and of the community of Squamish in making this
development a reality."

The development is part of an overall $14-billion capital infrastructure
program supported by the Province that will create up to 88,000 jobs and help
build vital public infrastructure in every region of the province.

Last fall, the Government of Canada committed more than $1.9 billion over
the next five years to improve and build new affordable housing and help the
homeless. Canada's Economic Action Plan builds on this with an additional
one-time investment of more than $2 billion over two years in new and existing
social housing and lending of up to another $2 billion to municipalities for
housing-related infrastructure.

Through Housing Matters BC, the Province is addressing a range of housing
needs, from homelessness to affordable rental housing and homeownership. In
2009, the provincial housing budget is $469 million, more than four times as
much as in 2001. To find out more about affordable housing in B.C., visit
www.bchousing.org.

To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working
to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at
1-800-668-2642 or visit www.cmhc.ca/housingactionplan. For more information on
Canada's Economic Action Plan, call 1-800-O Canada or visit
www.actionplan.gc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

AFFORDABLE SENIORS HOUSING BREAKS GROUND IN SQUAMISH

The funding for the project was made available as a result of a
$365-million joint investment under the amended Canada-B.C. Affordable Housing
Program Agreement, which includes funding through Canada's Economic Action
Plan and by the Government of B.C. The federal and provincial governments are
contributing equally to this overall announcement.

Squamish Riverstones Development Ltd. will provide 84 units of affordable
rental housing for seniors and people with disabilities, including 30 units
funded through the Seniors' Rental Housing (SRH) initiative. The remaining 54
units will receive financing from the Province in the form of a $7.8-million
CMHC insured mortgage and interim construction financing.

The development is located at 39776 Government Road in Squamish.

The development will consist of five three-storey, wood frame buildings
providing one level of parking and three residential levels with a mix of one-
and two-bedroom units. One building will also contain office and meeting space
for community activities on the first level. Construction is anticipated to be
complete in the latter part of 2011.

Thirty units are funded through SRH, which targets low-income households
that are:

- Seniors, defined as single persons age 55 and older, or couples where
at least one person is aged 55 or older.

- Persons with disabilities in receipt of a recognized disability
pension, or considered disabled for income tax purposes. For couples,
one person must meet these criteria.

The SRH is part of an overall $14-billion capital infrastructure program
supported by the Province that will create up to 88,000 jobs and help build
vital public infrastructure in every region of the province.

Partners and Funding:

The total capital cost of this development is approximately $14.1
million:

- The Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation (CMHC), will provide $2.2 million through the amended
Canada-B.C. Affordable Housing Program Agreement;

- The Province of British Columbia will provide a matching Provincial
Infrastructure Grant of $2.2 million;

- A CMHC-insured mortgage of $7.8 million is provided, as well as
interim construction financing provided by the Province;

- The District of Squamish will amend its bylaw to waive development
cost charges and will not require off-site and frontage servicing
costs valued at approximately $521,000;

- Bethel Lands Corporation, the developer, through Squamish Riverstones
Developments Ltd., will provide developer cost reductions valued at
$1.4 million; and

- SSCSS, a non-profit society that offers support and assistance to
families, will operate 30 units and lease the remaining 54 units from
the developer for 40 years.

Contact Information

  • Media inquiries: Michelle Bakos, Office of
    Minister Finley, (819) 994-2482; Andrea Scott, CMHC, (604) 240-1457; Patricia
    Lusic, B.C. Housing, (604) 314-1458