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HomeNewsComox ValleyHousing minister says Travelodge too expensive to purchase, Super 8 temporary solution

Housing minister says Travelodge too expensive to purchase, Super 8 temporary solution

BC Housing minister Ravi Kahlon says the Super 8 is a temporary solution after they were unable to reach a deal and purchase the Travelodge.

Earlier this week, the province announced the purchase of the Super 8 with the lease on the Travelodge ending in this month. Kahlon says he agrees with Courtenay mayor Bob Wells that the Travelodge would have been a better option, however it was out of reach.

“The decision to purchase the Super 8 was one of wanting to ensure some of the most vulnerable people in the community have a place to call home or a shelter above their heads,” said Kahlon.

“Travelodge would have been great if we could get it at a price that was reasonable. The selling price that the owner was offering was millions above the appraisal value, which made it just not viable for us.”

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Kahlon adds that there are not many options for supportive housing in the area, and that may have caused the price to be out of their range.

“These types of options are always very limited, especially when you need them really fast,” said Kahlon.

“I think when more and more people started talking about the Travelodge being the priority and should be the place where it should become more permanent, I believe the owner of the Travelodge felt that was an opportunity to put the price higher.

“So that’s why when a proposal comes and it’s millions above the appraisal value, it’s hard to justify that to the public.”

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Kahlon says the Super 8 will be a good interim solution because it has rooms, washrooms, and people can be moved in quickly. Public engagement sessions will be held by the province next week (June 8), but Kahlon adds the residents are community members who need continued support.

“They’ve been living in the Travelodge for up to two years and we really haven’t had any issues with these residents,” said Kahlon. “The goal here is to give them the foundation so that they can continue to have a roof over their heads and we’re a compassionate society and we need to support our neighbours.”

BC Housing says they will be planning to build more temporary housing in the future with the city along with developing more permanent solutions.

“The challenge always in location. If the city has some locations that they think is well suited, then of course, that is an important conversation to have,” said Kahlon. “This is always a tough situation, dealing with people who are vulnerable who have real challenges.”

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