Work to begin on aboriginal home in Victoria

City of Victoria’s second Traveller’s Inn motel conversion progressing

Victoria Native Friendship Centre executive director Bruce Parisian is pleased with the City of Victoria's plans to help create subsidized housing for aboriginal people at this former Traveller's Inn motel.

After a two-year wait, renovations are proceeding on the former Traveller’s Inn at 120 Gorge Rd. E., purchased by the City of Victoria in 2010 to create affordable housing.

Renovations will likely begin in the next couple of weeks on the smaller of the two structures on the lot.

The larger building has a different fate. Two months ago, stakeholders agreed to demolish and rebuild.

“The cost of the renovation on the three-storey building was so close to building new, it made more sense to build to suit,” said Bruce Parisian, executive director of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. “I’m ecstatic.”

With help from various funders, the city will convert the old motel into subsidized housing for aboriginal tenants, with the Friendship Centre overseeing operations.

It is the second conversion of its kind for the city. Last month, renovations were completed on Queens Manor, another former Traveller’s Inn.

Parisian sees many advantages to building new, rather than renovating the whole motel.

“When you build to suit, obviously it’s a lot better living conditions,” he said. It will also allow for two- and possibly three-bedroom units for larger families.

Plans for the new building also include a common room, where the Friendship Centre can host celebrations and operate such programs as cooking classes.

“We call it the village,” Parisian said. “We want the community to be able to meet and support one another.”

The timeline for the new portion of the housing complex is unclear, as it requires community consultation.

Renovations to the existing building, however, will progress much faster. Parisian hopes to see the facility operational by the end of next year.

“These studio units will be housing for aboriginal youth coming out of care, or for very young families with one child, or grandmothers raising grandchildren,” he said.

To date, 70 people have taken a course called ready-to-rent, in anticipation of living in the building.

In total, the city has budgeted $1.1 million for the job, which represents a middle ground figure between the city’s original estimate of $400,000 and the friendship centre’s estimate of $4 million.

Funding will come from the Victoria Housing Trust Reserve ($390,000), Capital Regional District Housing ($100,000) and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation ($624,000).

rholmen@vicnews.com

Just Posted

‘More animals could have a chance:’ Victoria Humane Society in desperate need of a home

Animal rescue currently has 163 animals in foster and volunteer homes

Free-B Film Festival celebrates 20th anniversary

Head to Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park to see some family favourites on the big screen

Central Saanich accused of not following Climate Emergency declaration with urgent action

Motion to research climate response options and costs rejected then rescheduled in tense meeting

Join North Saanich invasives removal and experience three key benefits

Friends of North Saanich Parks says July 27 clear-up will be rewarding as well as green

Esquimalt gives six-storey rental complex the green light

A new apartment building is set to go up on Admirals Road

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read