City preparing to rent out Passivhaus on six-month basis

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

At Monday’s meeting, City Council authorized City Manager Diane Hunter to move forward with negotiating a Residential Tenancy Agreement for the house, with a lease term of no longer than six months. Council decided in late April that the house will be used as a temporary living area and recruitment incentive for new employees, and be sold after a year or two once energy use data has been collected. 

Councillor Dan Davies had initial concerns about the short rental agreement, wondering if it would deter people from wanting to live there. 

“Six months to move your family into a place, you’re either going to be moving in in the summer and out in the winter or in in the winter and out in the summer,” he points out. “I don’t want people to have to move in the winter.”

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However, Councillor Trevor Bolin argued that many other organizations like oil and gas companies offer even shorter lease terms of three months when employees relocate. 

“I guess the problem with a year is what if we had the need for that twice inside that period,” he responds. “It’s six months; they should be able to get to FortSt. John, find something, get familiar with the community. I think it’s a huge bonus as far as staffing goes.” 

The estimated rent is based on comparisons with other property management companies in town for a 2,000 square foot, two storey, three bedroom home with two full bathrooms and a single attached garage. It also takes into consideration the City’s need to give tours of the home, as it’s suggested it be made available for public viewing at least one day a week with notice. The City would be responsible for professional cleaning and yard maintenance. 

Another $150,000 for the project was recently approved for its completion due to the expanded scope of the project. All together, based on the original scope of the project, it is approximately $40,000 over budget, and the completed project cost with additional work is expected to be $490,000. 

Photos from an August tour of the building are above.

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