Thursday, February 23, 2017

Could Raffles Inn listing offer partial solution to affordable housing woes?

Raffles Inn is now on the market with the property
listed recently with a Prince Rupert Real Estate Firm

An interesting new entry from the city's For Sale Property listings offers up a number of questions for the Prince Rupert's affordable housing concerns.

Raffles Inn, located at Five Corners on the edge of the city's downtown core recently went up on the reality listings website for Royal Lepage in Prince Rupert, with an information sheet providing some of the background to the hotel offer which hosts 50 rooms, a restaurant and lounge is listed at an asking price of 2 million dollars.

What becomes of the hotel should a buyer be found is of some interest for those in the community that have concerns about affordable and emergency housing in Prince Rupert.

At the moment, a number of the rooms at the downtown hotel are used by the Salvation Army as part of the emergency housing program in the city, those rooms may no longer be available should the property sell and the new ownership have other plans for the building once they take ownership.

However, the listing does raise the potential for a partial solution to the much discussed issue of affordable housing for the community.

The availability of a facility with 50 rooms coming on the market might catch the eye of some of the city's council members, with the need to address the housing concerns of the region making for a fair bit of focus for City council in recent years.

It's a property listing that someone may want to forward to BC Housing, which recently has been buying up similar hotel and motel opportunities across the province part of its plan to create social housing units in British Columbia communities.

That BC Housing purchase program was something that Councillor Joy Thorkelson made mention of during a June 2015 council session, suggesting that if anyone knew of a hotel or motel property in the community that was available they should let the province's housing authority know about it.

As well, the prospect of an opportunity to address the region's housing needs through an available property may be something that could be a theme in the current provincial election campaign, allowing those seeking the North Coast seat in the Legislature to weigh in on the need for a quicker pace towards finding solutions for the city's  housing needs.

Last September, current North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice addressed Prince Rupert's housing issues with Housing Minister Rich Coleman, with what could one of the few opportunities to take some significant steps on the that topic now available, it could be a theme that she may wish to revisit with the Minister

Recently a motel complex in Terrace was purchased for the purpose of converting it into social housing for that community, those following the issues of Prince Rupert's housing needs will be watching with interest to see what direction the Raffles building goes and if the theme of using available properties as a solution the need will be used in this community.

For more items related to the housing issues of the Northwest see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

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