Recent History – 2001
Sept. 26, 2001, By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
DCSCL’s affordable housing gives self-advocates, seniors, low-income families a home.
Darrell Horseman’s giddy smile says it all – the Dawson Creek Society for Community Living (DCSCL) affordable housing development is a great place to live.
Complete with a plaque unveiling and a ribbon cutting ceremony, the development, which consists of two townhouse complexes and a three-story apartment building over three sites in the 1400 block of 102nd Ave., was officially opened Tuesday.
Horseman is proud of his new home – he’s been there since it was ready for occupancy in June – and was glad to show visitors his spacious one-bedroom apartment.
What he was unable to express in words – he suffers from developmental disabilities and was a little nervous – he made up for in a broad smile. The words were left up to people like Ken Watson, the DCSCL’s board of directors chair.
“It’s a facility that is first class. I don’t think you could find one any better anywhere in the whole province of British Columbia,” Watson said during a speech at the opening.
About 50 people, consisting of seniors on fixed incomes, low-income families and self-advocates like Horseman live in the development, made up of 18 units in the apartment building and 16 units across the two townhouse complexes.
The $3.6 million development, designed by architect Eric Schroeder of Gomberoff, Bell and Lyon in Vancouver, features several touches that cater to the occupants such as extra-wide halls for wheelchairs and people unsteady on their feet.
In the spirit of community living, the apartment complex also features a common room where tenants can gather for events like birthday parties and game nights.
There is also staff on site most of the day, so that self-advocates rarely have to be left alone.
Each of the units includes its own washer and dryer, thanks in part to Louisiana-Pacific. The local plant donated abut 1,200 sheets of oriented strand board, worth $6,000 to $8,000. The consequent savings on construction material was used to purchase some of the washers and dryers, while the rest, over two dozen, were donated by the DCSCL board of directors.
The city also played a key role by donating two of the lots to the DCSCL. The third lot was given to the DCSCL many years ago by Dr. Leroy Erickson.
DCSCL executive director Patrick Michiel said there’s no other like it in the province. “It is a unique idea and it took us awhile to sell the concept to B.C. Housing,” he said.
“It’s not just one location, it’s not just one building, it’s townhouses, an apartment building, at three different sites, a common theme, mixture of people and those are all very foreign ideas to B.C. Housing.
“But to their credit, B.C. Housing came through in the end with $3.6 million.”
The complex was built by Hegge Construction and Polartech Homes over the winter months. For John Hegge, the project was extra special.
“The society was great to work with. We were proud to be part of the project, the whole team, the design team. I think it’s a great thing for our community to have such great facilities,” he said.
“I think they used their money wisely. They got great product for the money they spent.”