Dave Birdi says the community could easily use anywhere from 50 homes. (Photo submitted)

Dave Birdi says the community could easily use anywhere from 50 homes. (Photo submitted)

New housing for Binche

16 homes under construction

New affordable housing will make it easier for people to call Binche home amid the rising cost of living in B.C.

Six new homes equipped with a wood pellet boiler near Fort St. James are anticipated to be move-in ready for Elders by July.

Ten other homes which will also have a solar system are being built, marking the first time in more than two decades new housing has been constructed.

Binche Keyoh Bu Society economic development manager Dave Birdi said the impact on the environment was also considered in planning the budget-friendly homes.

“As Binche does not have a natural gas line for heating, we’re transitioning away from heating with firewood to heating with wood pellets and propane,” Birdi said, noting the heating system will help lower hydro bills.

“This solution helps the environment by lowering the cost of energy used to gather firewood and reduces the stress for the elders on keeping a supply of firewood. The system is being designed to be self-sufficient so that power outages that are common in this region would not impact the community.”

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While many commonly believe firewood is free, Birdi said the costs of retrieving it from the forest quickly add up, which can mean an extra burden for elders already having to wake up in the middle of cold nights to add more wood to their stoves.

The savings that will put more money into people’s pockets will allow them to manage their finances better and mean more funds available towards food and clothing, Birdi added.

The one and two-bedroom homes ideal for elders, individuals, and couples is hoped to open up larger homes for families.

“That was one of the biggest concerns from many people,” Birdi said. “They wanted to come back home, but without a home, it was very difficult.”

Rent of the homes will cover the mortgage and operational costs. The Government of Canada helped support the $3-million project.

(Correction: The six new homes will use a pellet boiler, not a solar system.)

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