Friday, November 13, 2020

Lax Kw'alaams announces site for 60 unit apartment development in Prince Rupert

A site has been chosen for a 60 unit apartment complex for the 
members of the Lax Kw'alaams Band, with the project set
for land on the east side of Prince Rupert
(map from the Lax Kw'alaams website)

The long promised development of apartments for Lax Kw'alaams Band Members in Prince Rupert has moved a bit further ahead this week; with the First Nation Community north of the city announcing its site selection for the 60 units of housing.

In a housing update for their members Lax Kw'alaams officials outlined that the City of Prince Rupert has begun the process of rezoning land along 11th Avenue East at the foot of Edwards Avenue which could be the site for the new apartment complex by 2023.

The building which is to stand five or six stories high will have 12 one bedroom units, 18 two bedroom units and 30 three bedroom units

All of the units will be fully adaptable for special needs and where needed handicap accessible.

Visualization from the 
Lax Kw'alaams website
In the overview for their members, Lax Kw'alaams notes how the City of Prince Rupert has been extremely generous in providing the First Nation Council with the land. 

Noting as well,  how a community group developing a trail network through the community is aware of the project and will try to tie a trail network around that part of the city to the nearby schools.

The hope is to have shovels in the ground by spring, launching what would be an 18-24 month construction project

The Band hopes to move into the design phase fairly quickly with Band members promised more details on the project as they progress.

While the members of Prince Rupert City Council haven't formally announced the project themselves, letting a chance this past Monday at their public council session slip by without sharing the details; they have been busy with much of the preliminary work for the project at Edwards and 11th.

Earlier this summer we noted some of the road closure work that the city has done to date, as well as towards the assembly and consolidation of lots that took place with an eye towards what will be a large scale development on the city's east side.

"We have a proponent that we are working with to do a housing development in the area, that will become a little bit more public later on. The first part of it is to close the road and subdivide into three large parcels and that's what we're looking to do during this process ... It is a completely wooded area and the development would be on 11th Avenue sort of in the dip area there. So we're just looking right now to close the road in anticipation of consolidation of lots for future development  ... The contemplated development is only big enough for one of the lots and there was an option to possibly do two other developments on either side in the future. So in this case, we looked at this time to close all the road and make the property available for future consideration at another time if Council wishes to do that later on" -- City of Prince Rupert Director of Operations Richard Pucci speaking to City Council on August 24th

The last discussion of the zoning themes came in early October, when City Council provided second and third reading towards the lane closure themes for Edward and Albert Avenue.

Since that time the topic has not returned to the Council chambers for any further follow up, which would include final reading.

Some of our past notes on the city's work on the housing file for Edward and 11th can be explored below:

September 3 -- City sets Road Closure consultation process in motion for Edward/Albert area residents
August 28 -- East Side Road Closure makes for prelude for potential housing plans

The planning for the proposed housing in Prince Rupert has been an ongoing discussion in Lax Kw'alaams for a few years now; the push for new community housing starting with the Christy Clark Government in 2016 and continuing on with John Horgan's NDP government since they took office.

Last December  Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain provided a refresh on the topic with his Hays 2.0 presentation of 2019, though at that time there had been no mention of a site selection being firmed up.

What appears to be some much anticipated increase in housing stock comes as the City of Prince Rupert continues to move forward with its work without the benefit of a City Planner; having not yet announced any plans to replace former City Planner Zeno Krekic who seemingly left the city's employ in March.

Since that time City Manager Robert Long has been handling many of the zoning themes explored and questions from Council.

For more notes on housing in the city see our archive page here.

A wider overview of past City Council discussion themes can be explored here.

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