An 86-unit housing complex is being proposed for the second floor of a mall in downtown Williams Lake.
“We’ve received a development permit application from Boitanio Mall,” the City’s chief administrative officer Milo MacDonald said during the regular council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 11.
MacDonald said the proposal is for 15 studio units, 49 one-bedroom and 22 two-bedroom units, with public areas, a sunroof and amenities spaces.
The roof will be opened up to create an open air courtyard that will end up carrying residue heat from the heat, ventilation and air conditioning system, he added.
“It’s a really beautiful architectural project and it’s going to enhance the value and the entrance to our downtown area,” MacDonald said.
He said the announcement comes coincidentally as the City and Cariboo Regional District are embarking on a housing needs study for the area this week.
“We know that we need housing. One thing we know for sure is that the housing provided by this project is going to make an enormous difference to the citizens of this community and this region. It’s exciting to see that come in.”
Coun. Scott Nelson said one of the biggest developments in the community that the City has been quietly working on behind the scenes over the last two years is now going ahead.
“It’s more than $20 million and it’s the redevelopment of the mall that we’ve been encouraging. It’s one of the largest capital investments into Williams Lake,” Nelson said, adding it’s great news.
In a few weeks the City should be receiving the conceptual drawings for the project, he added.
Mayor Walt Cobb said he has already seen a few draft architectural drawings and whether that is how it is going to look at the end of the day, it is going to be a real asset to the community and much-needed.
“We are going to have employees needing places to stay,” Cobb said. “The last I heard about the redevelopment of the hospital, they are talking about shovels in the ground next year and we are looking at 100 and some employees that will need accommodation.”
When the hospital redevelopment is completed, Cobb added, there will be an extra 100 staff and health care providers working at the hospital that will need places to live.
“It doesn’t matter who I talk to, when we talk about bringing people into town, it’s always ‘where are we going to live?” I think this is a long time coming. We’ve talked about it for a couple of years.”