The roof is all fixed at the Creekside Apartment building. (Kimberley Kufaas Photography)

The roof is all fixed at the Creekside Apartment building. (Kimberley Kufaas Photography)

New life being breathed into fire-gutted Port Hardy apartments

Half of the Creekside Apartment building reopens for tenants

The Creekside Apartment building in Port Hardy has a brand new lease on life, and it’s all thanks to owners Greg and Andrea Vance.

Back in August of 2017, part of the fourth floor of the building caught fire around 3:45 a.m. due to an accidental cooking mishap in one of the units. The fire ended up causing enough damage to displace around 65 residents who had no place to go after the 72 days of support from Emergency Services ended.

The insurance company then brought in remediators to strip out all the water logged cabinets, flooring, drywall, and everything else that had been damaged from the amount of water the fire department had been forced to use in order to put out the flames.

The building stayed gutted until April of 2019, when Vance and his wife made the decision to purchase it with big plans to bring it back to life.

“It just sat idle for a year-and-a-half prior to us buying it,” confirmed Vance, noting the previous owner wasn’t really sure of what to do with it before finally selling to them.

Vance stated it was quite eerie going inside the building for the very first time. “It was literally like people had just left one day, there was still dry goods in some of the cupboards and it was really bizarre.”

As for why they decided to purchase it, Vance said he and wife have owned property in Winter Harbour for 20 years now (outpost, marina, general store, campground, and acreage they are currently developing), “so we’ve got a fairly significant commitment to the North Island and have for awhile — we are huge believers in the future of the area and we believe there is going to be migration north from larger areas. People are soon going to discover the remote beauty of the wilderness the North Island has to offer.”

When the couple first bought the property there’d only been a temporary fix done to the roof, “so our main priority was to get the building water tight,” Vance stated. “We had to get the fire damaged section removed and put in proper replacements.”

He also pointed out there had been some persistant vandalism going on during the summer of 2019, which caused significant damage to the building’s interior.

After getting the RCMP involved, which stopped the vandalism from continuing to be an ongoing issue, they started to get serious about remodelling the interior.

“I applaud the RCMP for helping to give us adequate security so we had a chance to get the project going,” Vance said, noting their goal from the outset was to hire local contractors to do all the work on the building. “Ken Houghton has really been the key contractor who has driven the process, him and his crew have single handedly taken the lead on bringing this building back to life and have done a phenomenal job.”

Vance also acknowledged the support they received from Lawrie Garrett at Community Futures. “Community Futures has been incredibly supportive of our project, realizing the positive effect that the restoration and reopening of this building means to the community.”

Creekside finally received its occupancy permit Jan. 1 and people are now in the process of moving back in.

“At the moment we are bringing half of the building back,” confirmed Vance, “There’s 47 units in the building, and 23 of the units are being rented out now, completely renovated.”

As for the common areas, the hallways have all new lighting, new paint, new carpets, and it’s the same for the laundry facilities. Virtually every suite is also fully refurbished.

They will be looking to rent out the other half of the building’s units tentatively by the spring.

“We’ve put up a Facebook page, done some basic promotion to build awareness that the apartments are coming back, and we’ve had an overwhelming response from all over the community,” said Vance. “It’s been fascinating to see how many people have commented how badly this kind of housing is needed.”

Vance added he’s heard how hard it’s been to recruit working professionals to Port Hardy due to the lack of quality rentals available, and he’s proud that the signigicant improvements to the building have made it a medium to higher tier rental. “There is a real demand for semi-professional and professional workers here in Port Hardy who need a place to stay when they move here.”

He confirmed he is aware there is a drastic need for all tiers of affordable housing, “but to be clear, what we recognized from the start is there was a significant lack of housing for the likes of teachers, health care workers, coast guard, aquaculture, and forestry workers. That kind of housing is almost non-existant, and the demand currently outweighs the supply.”

Prices currently range from $850 a month for a one-bedroom to $1,050 a month for a two-bedroom rental.

Vance wanted to assure the community that they are “committed to running a well maintained, clean, and safe building. We want to be an example of what’s possible in the community and invest in its future. Also, local contractors and local suppliers stepped up and took on this job and supplied virtually all of the goods and services we needed to bring this building back to life, and it’s a testament to the talent that’s available locally — we are very proud of that.”

Vance added they are also looking at purchasing other rental properties in town because they remain committed to the North Island.

 

Check out the newly renovated units at the Creekside Apartment building. (Kimberley Kufaas Photography)

Check out the newly renovated units at the Creekside Apartment building. (Kimberley Kufaas Photography)

The common areas have all been renovated as well. (Kimberley Kufaas Photography)

The common areas have all been renovated as well. (Kimberley Kufaas Photography)

Just Posted

Jimmy Seymour was recognized for his outstanding work as the solid waste operator for Stz’uminus First Nation. (Submitted photo)
Top Jimmy: Ladysmith-area man takes your trash, leaves a smile

Jimmy Seymour uses his job as solid waste operator to spread kindness through Stz’uminus First Nation

Proprietor of Sweet Truck, Morgan Ray, as she hands off her baked goods to a customer. (Photo courtesy of Avrinder Dhillon Photography)
Vancouver Island baker eyes move back from food truck to bricks and mortar

Storefront offers more stability amid growth in sales: Ray

Emissions from the City of Abbotsford's vehicles make up the largest share of the municipality's emissions.
File photo
Vancouver Island councillor leads campaign to reduce building-sector GHG emissions

Courtenay’s Will Cole-Hamilton pushing for building emission legislation

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Thousands protested in Victoria following the death of George Floyd in the U.S. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. not exempt: New report documents 150 years of racism and the fight against it

Booklet marks province’s 150th anniversary with call for transparency, change

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

A mobile home fire prompted a quick response from firefighters Saturday around 3:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Mobile home up in flames at Duncan RV Park

One patient burned, EHS on scene

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Works crews have begun to install roads and other infrastructure to service the Nigel Valley redevelopment project that will bring nearly 800 new housing units to Saanich over the next several years. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Prep work begins on massive Nigel Valley development in Saanich

Construction of first two developments expected to begin fall 2021, B.C. Housing says

Gregory Ould, co-founder and executive director of Blanket BC, drops off warming blankets to Our Home on Eighth shelter in Port Alberni during a tour of Vancouver Island on Feb. 19, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Blanket BC delivers warmth, hope to Vancouver Island’s homeless

Gregory Ould donated blankets, toques in five communities

Duncan Christian’s Grace George lines up a shot during the three-point portion of the BC School Sports Pandemic Basketball Challenge after taking a pass from Cam Stevens. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan Christian leads the way in pandemic basketball challenge

School tops participation numbers for second time this year

The shadow cast of the Satyr Players production of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’: Linda Dohmeier as Dr. Scott, Olivia Erickson as Columbia, Brandon Caul as Rocky, Christopher Carter as Brad, Charlie Prince as Eddie, Branden Martell as Riff Raff, Jenna Morgan as Magenta, Megan Rhode as Janet and Adrien Kennedy as Dr. Frank-N-Furter (clockwise from left). (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
VIU student actors go online for 25th-annual ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’

Satyr Players theatre company to broadcast pre-recorded shadow production

Most Read