Rossland City Council and Midtown affordable housing project

Rossland council calls emergency meeting to re-approve Midtown development

A transposition error increases cost of construction on Midtown affordable housing development

Rossland council called an emergency meeting on May 11 to address a clerical error in the midtown mixed-use development project.

Council had to rescind three motions passed at its Apr. 19 meeting that gave the go ahead for the $15.5 M capital project, following an administrative error in transposing construction costs from the Tender documents to the summary sheets.

Those costs, in addition to an increase in the interest rate from 2.9 per cent to 3.3 per cent for financing for BC Housing, amounted to more than $570,000.

Mayor Kathy Moore explained that the emergency meeting was called to correct the information so the project can go ahead on its planned start date of May 18.

Tuesday’s updated motions approved the new amount of just over $16-M for the four-story building, which will see a new city hall built on the ground floor and three stories of affordable housing above. The overall project will now cost the city $3,369,442, an increase of about $83,000 from the original figures.

Just under $12.7 M will be funded by the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society.

During the public question period, council fielded several queries from Rossland Rate Payers Association representative Paul Evans and former councilor Andrew Zwicker regarding the city’s commitment to the project, the cost to the city, and a suggestion that council dedicate the entire building to affordable housing.

“I think people are missing the essential point here,” said Rossland Coun. Stewart Spooner. “Yes, it sounds like a lot of money, but a lot of that money especially the affordable housing portion of it is coming from grants, it’s meeting our community needs, we do need affordable housing, we want to have that site developed in a way that adds value to the community.

“When we consider all the moving parts together – the tax we’re going to earn over time, the sale of the property, the tax we’re going to earn on properties that we sell, when we consider all those variables together over the life of the project, it’s actually going to make money for the city, it will be a net postive to the city.”

According to Moore, the project is still within the budget included in the city’s 5-Year Financial Plan.

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