The Potato House Sustainable Community Society plans to put a $449,000 Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP) grant toward much-needed restoration and rehabilitation work on the house.
The Province of BC and Heritage BC announced the funding late March to support heritage infrastructure in Williams Lake.
The Potato House currently sits on a failing foundation that has suffered water damage, mold and mildew and leaks.
The foundation also covers only three quarters of the total footprint of the house, which has led to concerns about the stability of some parts of the house.
This project involves lifting the house to remove the current, failing foundation and replacing it with a new concrete foundation.
During the project, contractors will tie in services and upgrade utilities to bring the house up to code, improving comfort and safety for users. All of the planned restoration will be in keeping the original character of the house and environmental impact in mind.
Mary Forbes, executive director for the Potato House Project, said they are proud and pleased to receive this funding from CERIP so they can continue to develop their educational process.
“We have been working over the last 10 years to create opportunities for education in sustainability,” Forbes said. “In the past, we have not been available throughout the winter months because it is too cold in the house and we have limitations on access. This project will address that.”
She added the Potato House Sustainable Community Society will be working with a local contracting team of Doug Regier and his son, Jamie — known locally as ‘The Carpenter” — a proven partnership on past projects with the Potato House.
The Potato House Project relies on community support and fundraising events to help cover costs of the mortgage and the running of the organization.
While the society is grateful for this funding, the board and team at the Potato House want to make it clear to loyal supporters and the public that the funding is very project specific and is not eligible to be applied to the mortgage.
“We’re incredibly grateful for this grant as the final renovation will allow us to remain open year round so it will be much easier to host activities to raise funds for the mortgage,” said Potato House Project president, Jazmyn Douillard.
“In the meantime, we will need to get creative while the property is under construction. We have some ideas in mind for future fundraising efforts that I think the kids in the community will really enjoy. Please contact us or take a look at our Facebook page to participate in our fundraisers.”
With the completion of the project, set to begin June 1, the Potato House will increase its capacity for events, community and sustainability programs and its value to the community.
The society will be selling off its local heritage plants via its Facebook page, where they can be contacted with inquiries or participation in the rehoming phase.
The team at the Potato House looks forward to seeing residents throughout the summer while work commences and will continue to share information as the process progresses.
During construction, there will be limited access to the site for safety purposes. Any of the current garden plot owners are asked to please come pick up their plants to help clear the site.
The society would like to assure residents its compost services will continue throughout the duration of the work on the house and, if there are any changes, the organization will update the community as soon as possible.
As always, thank you for your continued support and, if you have any questions, contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amber Gregg is the program co-ordinator for the Potato House Sustainable Community Society.