Wednesday, March 14, 2018

In Prince Rupert; Housing approvals, don't always mean housing starts

The state of housing stock is back on the radar in Prince Rupert, thanks to last week's notes out of School District 52 and the prospect of the Board Chair set to deliver a letter of disappointment to the City.

That correspondence related to a situation which has seen the proposed developer of a large scale development of the Kanata School lands for housing walking away from the deal.

With the Bryton Group now officially turning away from the proposed Kanata development, it has once again put the focus on the rather limited success so far for this Council of delivering on their ambitions for affordable housing units in the community.

As we outlined on the blog last week, the School District called attention to the issue as part of their March 6th School District meeting, setting the stage for some push back on the theme from one City Council member.

In response to the Kanata issue, Councillor Blair Mirau made use of his Facebook page to outline his disappointment in the School District's view that the City may be responsible for the developer walking away from the project.

The Councillor also used his social media stream to  showcase some of the numbers that the City has promoted when it comes to approvals for property development in the community, noting how Council had approved 315 new residential units for development.

As the Councillor would quickly discover through the comments portion of his post , those who read his Facebook notes, also have taken some time to look around town and noted that of those 315 approvals,  few have turned into anything resembling a housing start as of yet.

With the most recent public City Council session having taken place this past Monday, the opportunity for others on City Council to offer up a bit of a public rebuttal towards the School District's disappointment was available for those in attendance.

However, during the course of the forty minute Council session this week, the theme of housing never made it into the discussion among the city's councillors, with no mention made of the School District concerns over the issue.

To get a bit of perspective on the large discrepancy between approvals and development, we took a tour around the city over the last few days to examine many of the areas where the City had allowed for proposals to move forward, looking to see if any progress has been made whether it be in the often desire goal of affordable housing in the city.

Of those 315 or so approved units, to this point the total number of completed, or near completed units stands at 21.

The three completed projects make for an increase in the city's housing stock, though to this point it would appear that it's the high end developments that have had the most success in working their way towards a completion date.

 Kanata School Land proposal

The now terminated land sale which created all of last week's back and forth between the School District and the Council member, had been offering a much anticipated boost to the city's housing stocks.

However, progress stalled as the process  became bogged down related to a number of zoning issues as the City provided for areas of note that it wished to see developed as part of the housing proposal.

As our timeline below indicates, the last public comment related to the Kanata lands question came in October 19th of 2016, the next mention of the topic not heard until the School District's meeting of March of this year.

Our notes on the Kanata process, as well as the Quickload Lands process which provided for some of the early disputes between the City and School District can be reviewed below:


March 9 -- In final year of their mandate, City Council's list of Feuds continues to grow
March 9 -- Kanata land issue, School calendar for 2018-19 make for dominant themes from March School District 52 meeting


No items


January 18 -- Zoning delay on Kanata lands has School District seeking answers from City of Prince Rupert
March 7 -- Kanata School land question back in front of Council tonight
Mach 9 -- Kanata School land zoning question is deferred once again, set to return for March 21st session


December 9 -- Kanata School land zoning review to be delayed until January

September 2 -- East side residents to get first look at Kanata school property housing proposals next week
August 20 -- Housing issues again dominate Council's attention, leading to some heated discussion

July 23 -- Kanata school lands rezoning sparks more discussion at Council
July 20 --  Council to move on Kanata School rezoning tonight

June 13 -- SD52 set to close deal for Kanata School Property

May 16 -- Location, Location, Location! SD52 puts Kanata School property on the market

April 17 -- Prince Rupert Council may have some fences to mend with the School District
April 16 -- Despite concerns from School District 52, Prince Rupert Council moves Quickload Terminals rezoning forward
April 13 -- Rezoning review for old Canadian Freightways Yard goes to Public Hearing tonight

March 31 -- Quickload shift to old Canadian Freightways yard heads for public hearing stage


Park Avenue housing proposal

Proposed by the Bryton Group, the same developer of the now abandoned Kanata School project, the first of the major property decisions by Prince Rupert City Council still seems somewhat stalled,with little more than a bit of land clearing to this point taking place for the west side development.

As was the case with their work on the Kanata file, the Bryton group found a number of city directed requirements included, as part of the approval process for the project.


August 8 -- Graham Avenue land sale gains a bit of out of town attention

July 29 -- City Council adds Seniors Housing requirement and development timeline covenants to Graham Avenue land sale
July 20 -- City Council puts focus on Alternative Approval results as topic for Special Council session tonight
July 18 -- City set to move on land issue off Graham Avenue after AAP results released

January 28 -- Council pulls west side road closure bylaw from Agenda consideration


July 8 -- Concerns over Graham Avenue road extension dominate Park Avenue Public Hearing
July 6 -- City Council to take second shot at zoning issues on Park Avenue development with Public Hearing tonight
July 2 -- Park Avenue Housing Development to get Second Public Hearing

June 25 -- Park Avenue proposal receives petition push back
June 12 -- Councillor Thorkelson looks to include Senior's Housing in Park Avenue Development planning
June 25 -- Park Avenue proposal receives petition push back

April 3 -- Public meeting scheduled regarding Park Avenue Housing rezoning issues

March 31 -- Proposed West Side housing development moves to public notification stage

March 23 -- Council to consider zoning issues related to proposed housing development off of Park Avenue


Stiles Place Condo proposal

The proposed condominium/office development made for one of the larger battles among City Council members, with a range of opinions on what should, or should not be included in the proposed housing component.

The passing in August of 2016 of Dr. Frank Pyde, one of the proponents of the development may have had some impact on plans to move the project forward.


December 9 -- Despite some opposition during Public Hearing process, Council approves zoning change for Stiles Place Development
December 4 -- City to host Public Hearing on Sitles Place condo development

November 25 -- Stiles Place Development to go to Public Hearing with new zoning designation
November 23 -- Council to revisit Height restrictions in downtown area, as well as proposed Sitles Place Development

July 23 -- Councillor Thorkelson outlines concerns related to Downtown condo proposal
July 20 -- First glimpse of proposed development for Stiles Place/Bill Murray Way 

June 25 -- Proposed condo development offers dramatic shift to downtown housing options
June 12 -- Councillor Thorkelson looks to include Seniors Housing in Park Avenue Development planning


First Avenue West development 

One of the two multi unit proposals that has almost made it to the finish line is this development on First Avenue West, which will add three more residential units to the inventory, though with a harbour view, the price point may be a bit beyond the reach of those seeking affordable accommodation in the city.


October 16 -- Council to get first glimpse of proposed triplex for First Avenue West


Van Arsdol Street Homes development

One property development which faced little in the way of Council discussion and no delay from concept to completion, was the Van Arsdol Residences project.

A four plex of high end homes on the west side of the City.

Built by Aurora Homes, the homes are located in much the same area as the city's high end real estate, the four units also come with a top end price tag, ranging from the 549,000 to 619,000 dollar mark.


January 30 -- Combined listing prices of Van Arsdol properties tops Two million dollars


Prince Rupert Boulevard/Drake Crescent proposal

Proposed by Auroral homes,  the same developer as the Van Arsdol project, the proposed multi family development for the lot near along Prince Rupert Boulevard and Drake Crescent has yet to move forward.

The developer did indicate that with the completion of his west side project, he would now be turning his attention to the larger one on the east side of the city, with hopes of starting the Drake Crescent project this spring.


July 29 -- Drake Crescent housing development gains Council approval
July 19 -- Zoning plans for Prince Rupert Boulevard land go to public hearing Monday

February 24 -- Drake Crescent zoning decision deferred until March session
February 15 -- Public Hearing for East side housing proposal set for February 22nd

January 29 -- Drake Crescent housing proposal to go to Public Hearing in late February
January 25 -- Proposed Housing Development for Drake Crescent on the Agenda for tonight's council session


November 25 -- Council moves zoning change process ahead for Prince Rupert Boulevard proposal


Metlakatla Elders/Seniors proposal

The Metlakatla proposal was another project which received little in the way of discussion from City council, with the development given the green light in as short a period of time as possible.

And while there are no forms put in place yet, some site clearing has taken place to indicate progress continues for the much anticipated addition to the the requirements of Prince Rupert's seniors population.


June 29 -- Council praises Metlakatla Development Corporation's Elders/Seniors Housing initiative as template for other developers
June 26 -- Metlakatla's Elders/Seniors project to be main focus for Council tonight
June 20 -- Council moves two Senior's housing proposals further ahead

May 4 -- Metlakatla Elders/Seniors complex heads towards public overview
April 21 -- City to consider old King Edward School site for Senior's Housing proposal at Monday's meeting


June 10 -- King Edward School site the focus of upcoming forum on Seniors Housing and Health


Neptune Inn Seniors proposal

The other project directed towards those in their Senior years is that for the old Neptune Inn site, which after a few items of concern for City Council were sorted out, also move quickly through approval stage.  

So far however, the pace towards an opening seems to have slowed a bit, with the building featuring new windows and siding, as well as some interior work


May 12 -- Most on City Council show enthusiasm for renovation plans for old Neptune Inn
June 20 -- Council moves two Senior's housing proposals further ahead

March 27 -- April date set for Public Information session on Neptune Inn conversion proposal 

January 11 -- Council moves forward with Neptune Inn plan for Seniors Housing
January 6 -- Details on proposed Seniors Housing project for Neptune site to be reviewed by Council


June 12 -- Former residents of Neptune Inn find housing for now


Mountain View Estates project 

The redevelopment of the old Bethel Baptist Church into executive homes was completed in the Spring of 2016, designed to appeal to what had been expected to be a stream of executives to the community to take part in the anticipated LNG and other development. 

It's unclear as to what the vacancy rate may be for the east side complex.



May 7 -- India Avenue Housing Proposal gets Council approval, but not without controversy

April 16 -- India Avenue housing proposal moves forward to Public Hearing stage
April 13 -- Council to review presentation on Mountain View Executive Suites project

March 4 -- India Avenue housing proponent hosts Open House tonight for area residents

February 12 -- East side housing proposal faces a number of questions at City Council

When it come to development of a large housing project, the last significant bit of work took place a number of years ago on the Hays Estate sub-division, and even that cul-de-sac neighbourhood still has a few empty lots remaining yet to be delivered.

The Hays Estates Subdivision, which was started a number of years ago
 was the last significant housing development
to take place in the community, with the area only filling out with
finished homes in the last two years

More background on housing issues in the Northwest can be found on our archive page here.

For items of interest related to Prince Rupert City Council see our Council Discussion archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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