Bill Pearce looks over his new apartment in the Olympic Vista complex. Pearce is the first person selected to move into the new housing

Vancouver Olympics athletes’ suites ready for re-use as Saanich social housing

New social housing project in Saanich prepares to open its doors

Bill Pearce walks into his new home and can’t help but grin.

“Wow,” the 73-year-old says over and over as he meanders about the spacious apartment – his first new place in his life.

Pearce has spent the last year downtown, at the oft-maligned View Towers, with living assistance provided by the province and Victoria Cool Aid Society. Though he’s not homeless, the jovial senior is at-risk of being on the street, which makes him a perfect candidate for – and the first to move in to – Olympic Vista.

The 36-suite building on Carey Road is the first Cool Aid-operated social housing project in Saanich. The tenants will move in at the beginning of next month, but, last week, Pearce toured the building he’ll soon call home.

“It’s nice to look forward to something that’s my own. Something that nobody’s ever lived in,” he says.

That’s not entirely true. The units that make up the apartment building were formerly the Athletes Village housing in Whistler during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The project is part of the $8.4 million Olympic legacy housing construction, which provided apartments to six locations in the province to create social housing.

Olympic Vista is essentially 18 trailers stacked on top of each other to create the suites, and then crews with Heatherbrae Builders enveloped the apartments with siding, hallways and an amenity wing.

Project manager John Gauld, with CitySpaces Consulting, says it’s been great to see the quick turnaround on the project – the trailers were dropped off less than a year ago.

“It’s great to see it all come together,” Gauld said.

The suites themselves will all come furnished when the residents move in – complete with a stove, fridge, kitchen table, wardrobe, bed and bathroom.

An amenity wing in the building includes a dining room, a large kitchen, laundry and a small computer area. There will also be counselling services and support groups to help residents improve their overall quality of life.

Pearce was lucky enough to get the first choice of an apartment – No. 305. He chose it, the southeastern-most suite on the top floor, because he’ll get a lot of sun coming through the three large windows.

Phil Knight, site superintendent with Heatherbrae, says this type of project is solid and innovative enough that he hopes to see it set a new standard.

“It should be where we’re going with this type of housing,” he said. “Seeing Bill come through here and have a look at his new home – that’s what it’s all about. We can take great pride in a project like this.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Victoria saw more snowfall this month compared to other major cities

Victoria normally sees about 6 cm of snow in February

‘Two chicks by the sea’ saved by their guardian angels

North Saanich Fire Department rescues two snowed-in seniors

Car crashes into Fairfield gas pump after driver has medical emergency

One pump at the Fairfield Petro Auto Centre will need to be replaced

Nine jobs at the Victoria Police Department at risk after budget decision

VicPD Chief Const. Del Manak said the police department is being treated ‘unfairly’

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Police track armed kidnapping across Thompson-Okanagan

RCMP allege it was a targeted crime believed to be linked to the drug trade

St. Paul’s Hospital replacement slated to open in Vancouver in 2026

Announced many times, but this time there’s money, Adrian Dix says

Fourteen ‘dream’ homes ordered evacuated as sinkholes open in Sechelt

Sinkholes throughout the subdivision have prompted the District of Sechelt to issue evacuation orders

Most Read