A rendering of a six-storey 63-unit modular apartment building along 104th Avenue in Guildford. It’s one of two locations that residents of Nickerson Place, one of the temporary modular sites, could move to. (Photo: surrey.ca)

Councillor, BC Housing confirms closing date for a Surrey modular location

Locke says arrangement is ‘finalized,’ but adds city will work to make sure there is no housing gap

One of the three modular housing locations in Surrey may be shutting down at the end of August.

Councillor Brenda Locke says the Aug. 31 deadline is “not a definite,” but an arrangement has been “finalized” for Nickerson Place.

She said she’s talked “a lot” with the planning department, to make sure “everybody transfers properly.”

“Our timelines are going to be really squeezed, there’s no doubt about that. Our timelines will be tough.”

Asked what will happen if the Aug. 31 deadline doesn’t work out, Locke said, “We’ll work with the landowners to postpone it.”

“I think it will be OK. They will be transferring into proper permanent housing that’s getting built. There’s two projects that council has approved and those should be up by then. If they’re not, we’ll be working with the owners of the property to make sure that there is not a gap.”

It was last June that Locke told the Now-Leader that the three modular locations had been given “modest” one-year extensions.

She said it would give the city and BC Housing “that sort of wiggle room” to inform the communities about what was happening.

READ ALSO: Councillor says Surrey ‘on track’ for getting permanent supportive housing sites, June 8, 2019

So far, only Nickerson Place, located at 13550 105th Ave., will be affected by the Aug. 31 timeline.

Locke said the Nancy Gerard Building (10662 King George Blvd.) and the Steve Cobon Building (13455 107A Ave.) don’t have a tentative closing date.

All three locations are operated by Lookout Housing and Health Society.

She said the residents of Nickerson Place could end up going to permanent housing. The permanent housing locations, she said, would be in Guildford, near 147th Street and 104th Avenue, and in North Surrey near King George Boulevard and 132nd Street, called Peterson Place.

“It’s not like they’ll all go definitely to (the permanent housing), they might start to reassess the people in the other (modular) units… They might shift some of the Nickerson people depending,” Locke said.

“They were always temporary. That was one of the reasons why it was so important that we really got busy on this and got those other locations chosen.”

The Now-Leader has reached out to Lookout for comment.

A BC Housing spokesperson said it’s working with its non-profit partners “are in the process of planning the residents’ transition to their new homes.”

Lookout, according to BC Housing, has been “proactive in communicating with tenants.”

On Feb. 24, a letter was sent out to residents informing them about the lease ending and there was a meeting on Feb. 28 to discuss the changes and answer questions, BC Housing said in an emailed statement.

BC Housing said Peterson Place is “on track for opening summer 2020.”

However, BC Housing says the Guildford facility isn’t expected to open until early 2021. A spokesperson said the development is “currently going through the municipal process.”

In July, city council approved the Guildford and North Surrey housing projects, following a three-hour public hearing.

It was decided then that the Guildford location would be also be operated by Lookout, which also runs a shelter next door, and that the North Surrey location would be operated by Fraserside Community Services Society.

For more information on supportive housing in Surrey, visit letstalkhousingbc.ca/surrey.

READ ALSO: Surrey council approves modular housing projects for homeless after lengthy hearing, July 22, 2019

READ ALSO: Province proposed permanent site for supportive housing project in Surrey, June 5, 2019

READ ALSO: New supportive homes proposed for Surrey, Feb. 25, 2019

People moved into the temporary modulars in June of 2018, after then-mayor Linda Hepner and housing minister Selina Robinson announced 160 units in January of the same year.

In the lead up to the modular units, there were roughly 80 tents lining the sidewalk on 135A Street. BC Housing estimated 173 people were living in the area.

– With files from Amy Reid



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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