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Boitanio Mall development in Williams Lake moving forward, slowly

Work on an 80-unit residential housing development on the upper floor of Boitanio Mall is continuing.

While it is not always apparent from the outside, the Boitanio Mall residential housing project is still moving forward.

Sonny Janda, a director for Janda Group, which owns the property, said the project is getting back on track after a number of setbacks, but in the next couple of months, there should be more visible change happening on the project.

Janda admits the project is taking longer than they had wanted or predicted, and said it has been difficult relying on plans which are 50-plus years old.

"But it doesn't mean that we're not committed to finishing it," he said.

"It's been a challenging project but no intent has been lost," he said. While no new completion timeline has been set, he's hopeful the project will be completed this year.

"We're still moving along," he said, noting with the old drawings it takes time to verify things and modifying commercial to residential poses additional challenges.

"There's just a lot going on," he said.

Gary Deane, city of Williams Lake Manager of Planning and Development, said there were significant amounts of hazardous materials which were uncovered and needed to be dealt with during the demolition phase of the project, adding the project has a new general contractor overseeing the work for Janda Group.

Deane said the amount of hazardous materials uncovered during the work was a major factor in the delays.

"They're in as big of a hurry as we are," he said of the developer and the city to get the housing project ready to occupy. 

The project was originally set to be completed by spring of 2023 and will be rental housing.

Archaeological work has already taken place to fully document a roasting pit and a fire pit, as well as artifacts which were uncovered during utility excavation work in the parking lot.

Williams Lake First Nation helped support the work on what was a known significant archaeological site from when archaeological materials were discovered in 1974.

Whitney Spearing of Williams Lake First Nation said at least some of the site was essentially capped and the mall built on top, so there remain portions of intact archaeological materials. 


Ruth Lloyd

About the Author: Ruth Lloyd

I moved back to my hometown of Williams Lake after living away and joined the amazing team at the Williams Lake Tribune in 2021.
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