Castlegar donates land to Habitat for Humanity build
Castlegar city council, at its regular meeting Monday night, officially gave the green light to Habitat for Humanity for a Castlegar build by donating a lot at 649 11 Avenue.
This, in response to a plea for assistance from West Kootenay Habitat chair Kathy Fair, presented to council earlier in the month.
“We’ve got a huge number of phone calls asking us when we’re going to get a build in Castlegar,” Fair said.
Councillor Kevin Chernoff said the land request was the right way to approach this council, as opposed to a request for a monetary donation, given the cash crunch facing the city after major industry tax rates were adjusted earlier this year.
“It’s definitely a quicker solution to what they need to move forward,” Chernoff said. “Cash definitely would have been an issue, as it would have to be included in our budget process in the fall. We wouldn’t have been able to make a commitment until early next year.”
He said he thinks the initiative is a very positive one for Castlegar.
“(Councillor) Russ (Hearne) and I talked about this over a year ago, before they (Habitat) ever approached us, and we both agreed it’d be something we’d like to be a part of, as businesses,” he said. “It’s a really good system.”
Fair said Habitat would like to start building as early as 2011, adding a Habitat house is a hand up, not a hand out.
“Habitat has strict criteria for (choosing families),” she said. “It’s based on need, but they have to provide proof they can pay a mortgage, and sweat equity is the down payment (500 hours of work during the build).”
Councillor Deb McIntosh asked if children were a factor in choosing the partner familes.
“Yes, we look for children,” she said. “Our last (build) was a three-bedroom, one bath, and (the partner family) had five children.”
She said the mortgage is never more than 30 per cent of the partner family’s income, is interest-free, and based on the home’s assessed value. The revenue from monthly mortgage payments then goes directly toward building more homes.
West Kootenay Habitat for Humanity, Fair said, started in 1996 and has built two houses and one duplex which currently house four families.