The Aqanttanam Housing Society celebrated the soft opening of the brand new Chief Agnes McCoy Centre last week, with a small and socially distanced ribbon cutting ceremony.
The multi-million dollar project has been underway for some time and the 39-unit building is now filled with tenants.
The building was named after the late Agnes McCoy, former Chief and elder of ?aqam. She was also one of the founders of the Aqanttanam Housing Society.
June Forsythe, past president of Aqanttanam Housing Society, explained that $7.8 million dollars came from the province’s Indigenous Housing fund, while Columbia Basin Trust contributed $454,200 through grant funds.
The building features 24 one-bedroom units, 12 two-bedroom units, and three three-bedroom units. Four of the units are wheelchair accessible. Monthly rent for these affordable apartments ranges in price from $558 to $838. The first tenants moved in two weeks ago and there is a waitlist to apply. Those who wish to get on the waitlist can apply through the BC Housing registry.
City of Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt was in attendance at Friday’s ceremony, and thanked everyone who was involved in the new McCoy centre.
“Affordable housing has been a big problem in Cranbrook for a number of years,” Pratt said. “This society has been a big contributor in helping to alleviate that problem and we appreciate what they do for us.”
He said that everyone involved has done an “amazing job” on the new facility and he hopes that more affordable housing can continue to be built in Cranbrook.
Will Nixon, Senior Manager – Delivery of Benefits for CBT was also in attendance. He congratulated the Aqanttanam Housing Society, recognizing that they have spent a number of years working on this project.
“Not many people can’t see the need for this,” said Nixon, speaking about affordable housing. “This society took this to the shovel ready stage…congratulations to all of the staff and volunteers for bringing this to fruition.”
Austin Parisien, former executive director for the Aqanttanam Housing Society, was crucial in the development of the new Chief Agnes McCoy Centre. He spoke at Friday’s ceremony, saying that the need for affordable housing continues to grow.
“Five years ago I was sitting at the office thinking, we have to do more. There was, and still is, a huge waitlist for affordable housing,” Parisien said. “I’m really proud of this building; we need to build more. Thank you to everyone involved, it has been an adventure – a good one for sure.”
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