Sooke to get affordable housing complex

A new affordable housing complex, with 40 units, to be built in Sooke will address the area’s growing need.

Help is on the way to assist with Sooke’s housing crisis.

A new affordable housing complex, with 40 units, to be built in Sooke will address the area’s growing need.

Funding for the $5.5-million project announced last week by Premier Christy Clark is part of a $516-million provincial investment that will create 2,900 additional affordable housing units across B.C. to increase rental supply.

The Sooke development, located next to Knox Presbyterian Church on Church Road, will house moderate-income adults, families and seniors.

The funding announcement was applauded by Mayor Maja Tait.

“It’s a good fit for attainable housing,” she said.

“Sooke has a large spectrum of market housing from the affordable market and up, but attainable housing for people on a fixed income has been a gap for us.”

Envisioned more than eight years, the Knox Centre was considered as a 125-suite seniors housing development, but over the years due to rezoning and other concerns, the project was re-conceived as affordable housing, said MJ Whitemarsh, co-chair of the Knox Vision Society building committee.

“There’s a huge need and demand for affordable rental units in the Sooke area. We changed our focus because as a Christian group it’s our determination that we respond to the needs of the area we live,” she said.

The Knox Centre is a two-storey building that will have 40 units of mixed accessible one, two and three-bedroom residential units on the top floor and commercial space on the bottom.

There’s been no decision yet on the commercial space, but the church will look at community need, such as doctor offices or a drop-in centre. “We want to see what the real need is in Sooke,” Whitemarsh said.

Construction will begin on the Knox Centre in early spring, with occupancy slated for early 2018.

“This has been a dream for the church. We’ve got a shovel-ready project and we’re itching to go,” Whitemarsh said.