Grant Forks Mayor-elect Everett Baker is “ecstatic” the city and province have inked a memorandum of understanding for a future supportive housing site.
Under the MOU, the city will short-list some sites for a new Hardy View shelter, since the permit for the current location at 2320 78th Avenue expires at the end of March.
Baker is also relieved the agreement is in place after a lot of work with former B.C. Housing Minister David Eby, who could be the next premier, and interim Housing Minister Murray Rankin.
“That (agreement) doesn’t commit the next council. Certainly that wasn’t our purpose. But it was to put the building block in place that took a great deal of my time and now I’m looking forward to as the mayor to moving this project forward and finally having a solution,” he told Vista Radio.
Baker was the city council liaison to BC Housing.
“Going forward, whether I was elected or not, I wanted to make sure that what we had talked about, that we have it in some formal agreement for moving forward, so whoever the next council would have been would be able to use that as a starting ground,” he said.
Baker says Grand Forks is further ahead on supportive housing than other communities because it chose to work with the province and put political differences aside.
“You’re probably well aware of other communities that chose not to do that and are not as far ahead as we are. So, I think the decision to work together and to come together has paid dividends for our community and we’re a better place for it,” Baker said.
The mayor-elect adds credit goes to the current city council, Mayor Brian Taylor, BC Housing and David Eby for making this happen.
BC Housing will also look at selling its property at 7382 2nd Street to the city for a future affordable housing development.