The ambitious social-housing project that would see the venerable former Rustik motel in Chateauguay converted into social housing is mostly on track, the director of the organization in charge of its conversion and operation said earlier this week. However, the project might face a slight delay of two to three weeks.
Work on renovations on the common room and part of the second floor – the former motel and reception hall is being converted into 50 social-housing units, with five of the spots being reserved for Kahnawake community members – could take the project past its planned opening date of January 1, 2023, Fédération régionale des OSBL d'habitation de la Montérégie et de l'Estrie (FROHME) director general Martin Becotte said this week.
Becotte, who is currently on a month-long leave as he runs for Quebec Solidaire in the Chateauguay riding in the October 3 provincial election, said about half of the units may be available for move-in by January 1, but that the work on the other parts of the project will likely cause a two- to three-week delay in the completion of the project.
“Likely, we will have 26 units ready, but there will probably be a slight delay,” he said. “The renovations on the common room and the second-floor units will take more time.”
The project is mostly being funded by provincial and federal grants, but some funding gaps still need to be filled, Becotte said – “I’m not worried about that. I am good at funding for projects,” he noted – but that the contracts have been signed and the agreement with the city of Chateauguay and that all systems are go.
“It’s a project that’s close to my heart,” Becotte said. “I’m very excited that we will be able to get the project completed close to the target date we set and that this will go a long way toward helping people who need social housing get the support they need.”
In addition to having five units set aside for Kahnawake community members – which is experiencing a housing crisis of its own -- Kahnawà:ke Shakotiia'takehnhas Community Services (KSCS) will have a full-time social worker on site to ensure that residents are able to receive support and care in a culturally appropriate manner.
The Rustik sits mere steps from a public-transit hub, Becotte added, and makes it an attractive option for social housing for other reasons, as well, including an economic slowdown in the commercial Chateauguay neighbourhood it inhabits.
Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase