Thursday, November 5, 2015

Housing Lessons for Prince Rupert? Province heralds new affordable housing development in Victoria

The Azzurro, an affordable housing
proposal for Victoria, sounds
somewhat similar to some ideas
that Prince Rupert City Council have
discussed in recent months
While Prince Rupert City Council continues to remain bogged down in formulating an affordable housing strategy, Council members might want to take a few minutes to contact Rich Coleman and ask a few questions about a new initiative currently in the works for the provincial capital.

Mr. Coleman, who when he's not busy laying the foundation for LNG in the Province and tending to his Deputy Premier duties, is also the Minister Responsible for Housing, and through that office he outlined a new housing program to address affordable housing issues in Victoria.

An ambition project which will see a seven storey mixed use residential and commercial building designed for singles and couples to be built built in the downtown portion of the capital.

The building will feature 65 one bedroom and studio apartments on the upper floors, while the main and second floor will host a range of commercial uses.

In addition to accommodation, the building will also incorporate a car sharing program, which will offer tenants an alternative to owning a vehicle, with two cars dedicated to the building. Space for 80 bicycles has also been incorporated into the designed and the building will be  located close to public transit.

Funding for the project includes financing arranged through the B. C. government to 14.8 million dollars, while the City of Victoria will contribute $544,000, The Capital Regional District's Regional Housing Trust fund will chip in $495,000 while the Greater Victoria Rental Development Society is contributing close to 1 million dollars in associated costs.

The building is expected to be completed by the fall of 2016.

“Our government recognizes the challenges people face finding affordable rental homes in cities like Victoria. This development expands the concept of affordable housing by introducing a car sharing program, a unique transportation option for its tenants with low to moderate incomes.” -- Housing Minister Rich Coleman, speaking in Victoria on a proposed affordable housing complex for that city.

You can learn more about the province's plans for the Azzurro here.

BC Housing hosts a video on the affordable housing plan, which you can view below.

The plan does seem to be along the lines of some of the recent discussion at Prince Rupert City Council which has focused on the theme of how to best approach the issue of affordable housing in this community.

Though the rental break point of the Victoria model which is set at between 700 to 900 dollars per month, is probably not quite the same benchmark that the City of Prince Rupert has in mind when it comes to affordable housing in this community.

Still the concept of mixed use is one that Councillor Joy Thorkelson in particular has noted as a model that the City may wish to encourage in the city, with a number of current property proposals under consideration in the region recently suggested by the councillor as a good starting point for that concept.

In an information sheet included in the announcement from the province, a short synopsis of some of the housing initiatives the province has taken on in Northern BC is included, with only one item, the Eagles Landing Transitional Housing complex noted as based in Prince Rupert.

Considering the nature of the new initiative that is currently set to launch in Victoria, City Council members might wish to put North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice to work on behalf of the community, as part of a two pronged approach to getting a similar option in place on the North Coast.

For more items related to housing issue in Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

More notes on developments from City Council can be reviewed here.

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