FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The process of installing the main power line for the Northern Centre of Hope’s new supportive housing development is underway after a significant delay.

The power line requires a trench, a permit and, finally, installation. Progress is being made on this front, according to Jared Braun, executive director of the Fort St. John Salvation Army.

“It’s been a long delay, but last week they started the work. They’re well underway getting the trench put in and working on the process of getting hydro installed,” he said.

Though it will take three to four weeks to complete the installation, Braun says, he is excited about the movement towards an operational building that can serve its purpose—providing homes.

“It felt like, for a few months, we were at a bit of a standstill. And then within the last two weeks, all of a sudden some good movement has happened,” Braun said. “We’re starting to feel like the target is closer.”

There are still many variables involved with the completion of the building that keep a concrete opening date out of reach. The end of summer is Braun’s current estimate for when guests will be able to access the building. 

The first group of guests for the supportive housing units has been selected in anticipation of the building’s completion. The process for reviewing applicants was done by a coordinated access team of community partners, including Northern Health.

Once the building is completed, final interviews with potential guests will be conducted to ensure they have not found a different housing option while waiting for the building to open. There is also a backup list of applicants, should some of the original group no longer need their space. 

“I’d imagine within the next month or so those interviews will be happening,” Braun said. “And people will be finding out that they have a new home coming their way.”

With the building progressing, Braun says, the next big piece of the project will be recruiting and hiring all the staff members needed to run the housing. All different kinds of positions—from cooks to custodians to support and case workers—will need to be filled.

“If there are people looking for a meaningful career in our community that really serves our community—and could see the opportunity to join us—we’d be glad to start having people send in resumes,” he said. 

The applications can be found at SAFSJ.org under the “work with us” tab. 

After hydro is installed, there are final systems on the inside of the building that need electricity to complete, including fire alarms and security cameras. There are also supplies and some pieces of furniture that need to be moved in by elevator.

But most large appliances and other elements on the interior came with the building units. The inside of the building has been nearly completed for months, Braun said. 

External work, including a gazebo, landscaping, and fencing, is also in progress.

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Grace Giesbrecht

Grace Giesbrecht is a news reporter for EnergeticCity.ca who recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a bachelor of arts in Media + Communications. She was born and raised just outside of Fort St. John. She began reporting for her university’s student newspaper and interned with Ottawa Life Magazine where she developed a passion for asking questions, telling stories, and the written word. In her free time, you can find her drinking coffee, snowboarding, or reading novels.