The city is applying for a $10,000 interest free loan from Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation to study options for the Cariboo Lodge site on Fourth Avenue North.
In a report to council, manager of social development Anne Burrill said the .52 hectare site which is owned by the city would be ideal for mixed use affordable housing.
“The site is located in the downtown core, across from our major children’s park and the Seniors Activity Centre,” Burrill wrote.“It is walking distance to most services and an ideal location for a mixed-use development.”
Presently the majority of the site is occupied by a building that is unusable and requires redevelopment, Burrill noted, adding the remaining useable part of the building is currently leased to a local non-profit and used as a tertiary care housing facility for people with mental illness.
A housing study conducted in 2011-2012 with CMHC funding was updated in the spring.
The update identifies housing for youth, as well as low income single people, families and seniors as a priority for the community.
Although Williams Lake currently has 330 units of affordable supportive housing (including shelter beds) in the community, the study estimates that there is a need for at least 200 more, plus additional housing for students, the city said in a press release.
And within the bigger picture of affordable market and non-market housing, the study identifies the need for more than 800 units of affordable housing.
At its regular meeting Tuesday, council directed staff to submit a letter of application to the CMHA for the loan.
Staff said the loan can be factored into a financing plan for project development and if a project doesn’t proceed the loan is forgiven.