Recent History – 1999
June 17, 1999
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
An effort to build a housing complex for handicapped people is receiving a boost from the City. Council gave three readings to a bylaw Monday to sell a parcel of city-owned land at 10200-18th Street to the Dawson Creek Society for Community Living (DCSCL) for all of one dollar.
DCSCL administrator Patrick Michiel said the deal will help, but there is plenty more work to do. He envisions a five-unit complex occupied by what Michiel calls “self-advocates” or people who are handicapped but, with a little help, can live on their own.
“I have five or six self-advocates that could use better accommodation,” he said.
“And it would also make the Dawson Creek Society for Community Living less dependent on government money and I think by establishing our own housing complex we turn self-advocates into homeowners instead of tenants, and that’s one way of making them more independent of the government in the long run.”
Raising enough money is a major hurdle. Building such a complex would take about $500,000. “It’s going to take some time and we’re looking for ways and means of doing this,” he said.
The units themselves would be single-level, wheelchair accessible, and with extra-wide doors. Ideally, Michiel would like to see several such complexes and to see a portion of the units rented out to people other than just self-advocates.
“What we’re not trying to do is create a ghetto where you have a bunch of self-advocates living in one place and no-one else being there,” he said. “Because the sense of community involves more than old people, more than young people, you have to have a mix to have a real community.”
Although the sale includes a covenant to build within one year, Michiel expects that the City will be flexible on that condition. “What they don’t want us to do is to benefit unfairly from their generosity,” he said. “They don’t want us to ask them to give it to us, and then turn around and sell it for a profit.
“So that’s what the covenant is there for, to ensure that indeed it is used by the Dawson Creek Society for Community Living.”