Thursday, February 12, 2015

East side housing proposal faces a number of questions at City Council

East side location of proposed
redevelopment of Bethel Baptist
Church,  creating housing units.
An ambitious project to re-purpose a church on the east side of the city into housing accommodation received its first major review at City Council on Tuesday evening.

As City Planner Zeno Krekic providing Council with an overview of a proposal for the old Bethel Baptist Church property on India Avenue.

Mr. Krekic made use of a number of slides to provide a picture of what the completed renovation would look like, a project that would offer up 18 one bedroom and single room living quarters for workers arriving for potential large industrial projects in the region.

The building which was occasionally referred to as a boarding house like proposal would at some point in the future be re-purposed again to provide housing for Senior Citizens.

Conceptual design of proposed
housing development on east side
Some aspects of the proposed development however met with a bit of a challenge from some on Council, with parking issues forming a good number of the items on note.

As well, Council members had concerns that the potential long term goal of Seniors housing may not be reached, owing to wear and tear on the building in its rental phase, along with the potential for increased cost that may be required to convert the building for Seniors use at a later date.

Mr. Krekic outlined how the two step process for the proposed development would work moving forward, with the proponent required to host an information session at his cost to provide more background on his plans for the building.

While at the same time City Staff would conduct its own internal referrals regarding the project.

As well, the project would require the usual permits and hearing procedures, offering up a number of opportunities for both Council members and the public to ask questions and learn more about the development.

Mr. Krekic also observed that the proposal does fall into line with some of Council's past direction when it comes to re-purposing buildings for housing uses and would provide housing in a time where housing stock is considered tight at the moment.

Councillors Thorkelson, Niesh and Cunningham outlined a few more observations on the proposed development, focused mainly on the boarding house concept, offering up a preference for a direction more suited towards apartment style accommodation for the area.

Those will most likely be issues that come up again as the proposal moves ahead through the civic process, to get that process underway Council gave first reading to the zoning motion on the night, leaving the next step to the proponent to host the required information session regarding the plans.

A full review of the material provided to Council regarding the proposed development can be found on pages 18 - 33 of the Council agenda for Tuesday evening.

The presentation regarding the proposed development, as well as the discussion of issues surrounding it can be reviewed from the City's Video Archive starting at the one hour seventeen minute mark, with Council's review of the project continuing on until the one hour forty four minute point.

A full outline on Council developments can be found on our Council Timeline feature.

We have more background related to Housing issues available on our Archive page.

More items related to City Council discussions can be found on our Council Archive page.

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