One person died in a fire at a Langley City seniors residence in April. A decision on what to do with the building now has still not been made. Shane MacKichan file photo.

Birch residents ‘need not to worry’ about losing homes

Langley Lions Housing Society quash rumours that residents at burned-out building will be displaced

The rumours are not true.

The 10 residents who remain at the burned-out Birch building in Langley City will not be displaced when work to either repair or rebuild the structure is done, confirmed Jeanette Dagenais, executive director of the Langley Lions Senior Citizens Housing Society.

Dagenais was responding to a query from the Times, after a resident at the Birch subsidized housing complex heard rumours he may lose his home.

The building was severely damaged in a fire last April, which killed one person and left 60 others displaced.

It took about 10 months to transfer all of the affected residents to alternative housing, Dagenais said, and a decision on what to do with the building has not been made.

READ MORE: Lodging found for Langley City seniors displaced by fire

READ MORE: Man dies in fire at Langley seniors residence

“It’s way too soon to be able to tell which road we’re going down. It is our full intention to still provide affordable housing to our community, as we have done since 1975, and that’s our intention to go on doing so,” she said.

“Whether we rebuild — which is repairing what was damaged in the fire — or we replace with a new building, we still haven’t come to that decision at this point. But we’re always committing, and have shown in our track record, that we always transfer our people and move them into another unit.”

Dagenais said she would like to see a new facility built on the same site, but the Lions still need to look into what — if any — funding options are available.

“It would be nice to build something new and larger, if possible, but it’s too early to be able to say what we’re doing,” she said.

“Things take a long time, and I knew that the night of the fire that it would take a long time. It’s never far from our minds, and we’re not sitting idle. We’re working on it, and we’re trying to do the best for the community and for the residents to put affordable housing into the community. And any of those 10 people need not to worry at all.”

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