Courtenay Super 8 motel being purchased for supportive housing needs

May 29, 2023

Purchase ensures tenants at Travelodge have somewhere to go once lease runs out at the end of June.
The 67-room Super 8 Motel on Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay has been sold to BC Housing. Photo by Terry Farrell

The City of Courtenay recognizes the need for a timely and practical housing solution that works now and into the future, ensuring the sort of long-term success all of us are working towards.

Bob Wells

Mayor, City of Courtenay

According to a May 29 press release, BC Housing is in the process of purchasing the Super 8 by Wyndham motel in Courtenay.

The 67-room motel, located at 1885 Cliffe Ave., will replace the Travelodge facility currently being used by BC Housing in a leasing capacity. That lease expires at the end of June.

“We want to make sure that these vulnerable people are not left homeless, which is why we made substantial efforts to purchase this hotel and create a valuable housing resource for the community,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “These new homes will further add to the significant efforts underway in Courtenay and across the province to tackle the housing crisis and build the homes people need.”

BC Housing has leased the Travelodge since the spring of 2020 to provide people facing homelessness a safe place to stay and self-isolate during the pandemic. The lease will expire June 30, 2023. BC Housing explored purchasing the Travelodge, but was unable to come to acceptable terms with the owner.

The purchase of the Super 8 has to meet certain criteria before the sale is approved.

BC Housing is in the process of submitting a temporary-use permit application to the City of Courtenay so the Super 8 motel can be used to provide housing for people staying at the Travelodge Courtenay.

The application outlines requirements for community consultation and public engagement, as well as site plans, and building and safety inspections to confirm occupancy and code requirements. Once the application requirements are met the TUP request will be brought forward to council for consideration.

Mayor Bob Wells says while the City of Courtenay is disappointed that BC Housing and the Province of BC were unable to purchase the Travelodge property for supportive housing, city staff will work closely with BC Housing as it finalizes the purchase of the Super 8 Motel and looks to transition residents over to the new location.

Our community wants to be an engaged partner with the province and BC Housing, working together to solve this much-needed supportive housing issue. That partnership includes recognizing the important individual roles played by our city and the province. That said, we also recognize that as the senior level of government, the province, through BC Housing, can proceed under its own authority, which includes bypassing any city process or community expectations. Finding that working balance that respects the community and solves the housing issue is front-and-centre for city council right now.

Wells added that he will continue to ensure the province is fully aware of Courtenay’s concerns and expectations, particularly as the city “strives for a cooperative and meaningful working relationship” that helps solve this important local housing issue.

“To be clear, like the Province of BC, the City of Courtenay recognizes the need for a timely and practical housing solution that works now and into the future, ensuring the sort of long-term success all of us are working towards,” said Wells. “I want our city to work alongside the provincial government and BC Housing. That level of co-operation is critical for this project and others to come.”

“This is a substantial investment in our community and will provide housing for those who need it most,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “I look forward to seeing tenants get settled in over the coming weeks so they can continue to have a safe, comfortable place they can call their own.”

The Super 8 at 1885 Cliffe Ave. has 67 units, each with its own washroom. The Comox Valley Transition Society (CVTS), which has been operating the Travelodge, will operate the Super 8 to ensure a seamless transition for residents.

As with the Travelodge, the society will have staff on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide residents with support services, including daily meals, life-skills training and health and wellness services.

Residents are scheduled to start moving into the Super 8 in June. The province, through BC Housing, will fund the purchase and operating costs of the building.

Once guests have moved in, BC Housing will begin exploring permanent housing options for the site and will engage with the community to discuss its long-term use.

People can learn more about plans for the Super 8 at an information session hosted by BC Housing on Thursday, June 8, from 6-8 p.m., at the Lodge Room, Native Sons Hall, 360 Cliffe Ave.

BC Housing also continues to work with the city and CVTS to identify options for a permanent location for the Connect Centre shelter. BC Housing will update the community if a new site is confirmed.

This project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has delivered more than 76,000 new homes for people in B.C., including 743 homes in the Comox Valley.

The Record has reached out to the Coalition to End Homelessness, BC Housing and the CVTS for additional comments.