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October 27, 2017 10:06 pm

RiverBend Project Shows PG is “Open for Business”

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 @ 12:07 PM


l-r  A&T Ventures’ Frank Quinn, MLA Mike Morris, MLA Shirley Bond, Mayor Lyn Hall  and Oncore Seniors Society’s  Garry Limpright-photo 250News

Prince George, B.C.- Construction of the new RiverBend Seniors  housing project  in Prince George is well underway, but  it’s a project that almost didn’t happen. 

The $33 million dollar project was first presented to Mayor and Council in 2013 “We didn’t get much traction  at that time” says  developer Frank Quinn of A&T Ventures. He says it wasn’t until Mayor Lyn Hall was elected that  the wheels were set  in motion.

“I had seen the project and I wanted to know if Frank  was interested in doing this project here in Prince George” says Mayor Hall “and from there, we met,  we  went to Kamloops and took a look at their RiverBend operation there and  the wheels started to move, it was a big job.”  Mayor Hall says it was team effort on  the part of  the City’s development Services department  and  Council  “It’s the only project of its kind north of Kamloops and I think that says a lot about what we’ve done.”

Hall  and  key members of  the City Staff,  arranged  to meet with Quinn in  Kamloops and laid out the  possible benefits of  developing  such a project in P.G.   Those benefits include: a ten year tax break,  and  just over $265 thousand dollars in  development cost charges relief plus an affordable housing grant of $855 thousand.

The Province came to the table with  $4 million dollars to buy  33 supportive units in the  173  unit  development and financing of over $3.8 million to Oncore Seniors Society for the purchase of another  33 supportive units.  The balance of the units (107) will be sold  and  18 have already been spoken  for.  Quinn says that although the BC  Housing component is less than 20% of the overall  project,  their involvement was critical  “Their involvement is what makes the project viable,  without their involvement, we couldn’t proceed.”

“This project comes at the perfect time for us” says Gwen Norheim.  She and her husband are among those who have already purchased a unit and expect to move to their  new  condo in the fall of 2017. “We were at the point of knowing we  would need to move, but  didn’t want to move into  any of the existing facilities in Prince George.”   Norheim  was a teacher  at the  Connaught Junior High School  which  was on the neighbouring property until it burned to the ground.  “In all my years of teaching I never imagined I would be living  in its backyard.”   She is also pleased  their little dog,  a small  poodle terrier mix,  will be able to  live with them.

Quinn says  they  did  make an interesting discovery  when they started construction, “The creek  ran right through the property.  Even though we had done our geo-tech work,  we  had no idea until we got  into the ground   how much of a challenge that was going to be for an excavation.”  But he says their past experience in dealing with alpine construction and avalanche trenches  gave them the know-how to deal  with  it.

“The city was spectacular to deal with ” says Quinn ” We deal with cities all over British Columbia and  there’s  no city like this when it comes to being open for business.”



That’s it, big smiles Shirley and Mike… there is an election coming.

    This is an excellent and well needed project!

    If the NDP was in power (god forbid) and it was NDP MLA’s in the picture, you would be the first to be all over it, praising them and the NDP to no end!!

    Go ahead and deny it if you want, but we know better!

      What we do know with the liberals is they are always raising fees and medical costs for retired seniors..and also charging them more every year for staying in senior housing.. All the seniors really appreciate being driven into poverty after paying taxes all their lives.. Thanks liberals.

    grow up galt.

Just shows how city hall can be bought and paid for is all. We spend less on our parks than we do on debt servicing and they want to get rid of them all so they can spend even less. How about you get rid of the debt we spend over 15 million a year on and then you can brag how nice and green our parks are. We spend millions buying up old buildings downtown – to what end? On and on it goes, so glad they weren’t able to buy up that parcel of land outside city limits a few years ago, would have spent our tax dollars clearing it and servicing it and it would still be sitting there growing weeds

    Okay, so we get rid of all our debt. Let us say that the last little bit will be taken care of in 20 years from now. As time progresses, there will be progressively more money available to spend on parks, to spend on no tax increase for a few years until inflation starts catching up, and so on.

    We will then buy new buildings, additions, infrastructure, enhancements of one sort or other, rebuilding old stock, etc. at 2036 dollars which will have 20 years inflation on them. EXCEPT, we cannot do that until we have saved for these new buildings and other infrastructure so we can see such development 40 years from now.

    Great planning! Good understanding of how the operation of a City works and how financing city development works.

    Green parks???? forget abut it. Learn to design them so that they are as natural as possible.

    Have a walk sometimes on the cover of the First Avenue landfill. That is the way to design low maintenance “parks”. Forget about Rainbow, Connaught Hill, Fort George/Lheitli Tenneh, etc. Just like they have forgotten about Cottonwood Island Park and the Heritage Riverfront Trail system.

      You have no idea how debt bogs things down do you? We spend 15 million a year on debt servicing costs. Without that we could spend 15 million a year on other things, Would only take 3 years to save and build our fancy new police station

      We just added 11.3 million to our long term debt this year alone adding 1% to our tax levy for the next 10-20 years, instead of adding to our debt we could have paid for all of it in cash and still had 4 million to blow. Great planning indeed

Yess the owners of the condos can save money too if they tap into the creek that runs underneath.

    I see we really do not give a chit about housing for seniors, do we???

Seems like a great project to me . I could be wrong but what is wrong with keeping more seniors in Prince George?

    Nothing, just the usual curmudgeons that believe every project is a personal assault on their lives, all change is bad and anytime you even see a politician it must be a self serving photo-op.

    What is great about a project that only got built due to all the corporate welfare that it received? Cons just love to go on and on about the wonders of Capitalism over Socialism, but this thing only got built due to corporate socialism. The mayor and council of this city should put a sign that reads “For Sale…cheap” outside of council Chambers.

      The income tax being paid by construction workers on this project will more than pay for any so called corporate welfare.


      OH yes, absolutely. The income tax from a few months of construction workers employment will be greater than the income lost from a 10 year tax holiday plus the DCC rebate. /s

      Go back to bed old man. lol

      Remember, the City does not collect any income tax. Now it will not collect any property tax for 10 years either.

      This is the slow incursion of the City getting into the housing business, another download from the provincial government. Anything BC Housing has been getting into in the recent past reeks of Provincial Government download of responsibility without the necessary transfer of funds to the City. This is simply a hidden Triple P project.

18 of the market units have already been sold! Seems that demand for these units is already there!

I for one have parents who are in their very golden years. A facility like this, especially next door to Gateway, will be well utilized and much appreciated by those that will live there and by those who will be able to easily visit elderly family members who will choose to stay here instead of moving south!

Sounds like a win for those that will live there, those who’s family will live there, those who will work there and those who will benefit from the economic activity generated from the retirement funds that will be spent here instead of in the Okanagan or other points down south!

    What is so special about being close to Gateway? Are they in the market for cars, mufflers, tires, motel room rentals? Do they need to be close to a new Firehall?

    Perhaps they eat a lot of Big Macs or Popa and Moma Burgers or 711 wedges.

    The Gateway might be a clean-look route to drive through, but it is not exactly a shopping, restaurant or entertainment mecca.

    Come to think of it, which part of PG is, other than parts of downtown plus the major shopping centres.

1? What about all the other projects that developers walk away from, because the city is truly not ‘open for business’. Change the archaic zoning bylaws. Get Ospika built. Find a way to get that ugly Clint Dahl special of a hotel built downtown, and his ugly piece of empty land behind Walmart.

Someone might want to ask a few questions. As an example do you think that a 10 year tax break, along with $265,000.00 in development cost charges relief, plus the $855,000.00 affordable housing grant is a little excessive.

Who will own the rental units when the project is completed. My understanding is that the Government will own 33 units and Oncore Seniors Society, received financing from the Government over a long period of time, and they will own the other 33 units. The contractor of course will sell the other 107 Units. One assumes at a hefty profit.

My understanding is that these rental units will be available for low to moderate income seniors. Hmmmm. Where does one go to get on the waiting list.

These are one bedroom units with a space for a micro wave (Not provided) and while some aspects of it are pretty good, in actual fact, we end up with putting all this money into a project and end up with 33 units. Hmmmm.

Perhaps gopg2015 could do some of his research and come up with a dollar number for the cost per unit, and perhaps some inkling as to how one can access these rentals.

The Government has similar projects in Squamish, Kamloops, Peachland, etc; so this is not exactly new.

    Palopu, your comment shows us the amount of homework and research you did to support your assertions… my thumbs up!

    There is insufficient information to come up with a cost per unit. The proper measure of such a development is the cost per square foot and then attribute that to units of varying sizes.

    There would also be a difference between the market housing and the subsidized housing portion.

    Finally, I would want to want some info on which tax dollars are attributable to what portion of the development.

    What I am really trying to get at is why should anyone in the public have to do such calculations? This is a mixed housing project, and the taxpayer is funding part of it.

    This City has not yet learned the notion transparency.

    In this case they and the province need to prepare a prospectus of the project, the amount of subsidies provided by the taxpayer to something which few us will see any direct benefits from, the benefits which will accrue to the general population, who will be the source of the majority of the funds, and which services we will not see for general application to our annual budget deliberations, and so forth.

    I think THAT is the message we need to keep hammering the City as well as the province with. We should not have to second guess such information or spend more than a minute on finding the information.

This looks like its going to be a successfull project with obvious demand for the units. How come it took a company from Kamloops to make this happen? The developers in PG seem to be very risk adverse and lack the vision and capasity to grow this city to its potential.

“The city was spectacular to deal with ” says Quinn ” We deal with cities all over British Columbia and there’s no city like this when it comes to being open for business.”


This is one of those statements that could actually be very good or very bad . . .


    In my estimation it is more often bad from the taxpayer’s point of view.

    There needs to be a reporting out to the citizens of PG of the actual cost to the City of the subsidy provided and the measurable value received in return stated both in quality and in monetary quantity..

Like to get the names of the voters who voted for A. The Harper Conservatives B. The BC Liberals. Just get a good look.

I voted for both. I’ll show you my name if you show me yours.

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