|A zoning change is in the works for the old Raffles building
with work on the renovations for Cranes Crossing currently on pause
Monday's Prince Rupert City Council session offered up a bit of an update on the progress for the Crane's Crossing housing facility at Five Corners, a work site that has seen scaffolding put in place but few indications of work ongoing at the moment.
As part of the discussion related to a new zoning category to be put in place by City Council, the city's contract planners from Iplan Ltd. provided a few notes on the progress, or lack of at the moment, for the much anticipated supportive housing initiative in the downtown core.
The details related to the amendment to zoning and the renovation to the property once known as Raffles Hotel were detailed in the Report to Council attached to the Council Agenda for the evening.
"A proposed “Transitional Housing” project is in process of being prepared for land zoned C3 located at 1080 3rd Ave West; however, land use is not currently permitted in a C3 Zone.
This is a use only permitted in the RS Zone.
Furthermore, the proposed density, height, and setbacks do not meet Special Care Residential Zone (RS) requirements.
The project would revitalize the current “Raffles Inn” and provide 92 transitional housing units for the community. A new Zone (RS2) is proposed to be implemented on this site to accommodate for the proposed use and density. The proposed RS2 Zone is included as Attachment #1."
To the Raffles Housing discussion , Councillor Nick Adey inquired as to the status of that development, noting that things seem to have stopped over the last number of weeks at the site.
Rob Buchan from iPlan Ltd. offered up some clarity for Council on the current situation at the Five Corners location.
"This amendment to the bylaw has to occur for that project to proceed, the project also needs a development permit which has not yet been applied for. So, we were in pre-application discussions and as we do with that we go through a zoning check and in looking at the current and the new zoning bylaw it in neither case was this allowed. So we need a new zone and certainly its a portable project, so that's why we brought it to you now to try to take advantage of the opportunity that the new bylaw provides." -- Rob Buchan iPlan Ltd.
That led to a follow up question from Councillor Mirau as to the nature of the zoning for the area of the new transition house on Park Avenue and if it should fall under this new category as well
The iPlan planners observed that they were not certain of the zoning of the adjacent property at the Park Avenue location and noted that they would look into it and if there is an issue it could be amended to make sure it is legal and addressed by the bylaw.
Councillor Cunningham inquired if Council should move forward on the zoning change until they hear back on the Park Avenue location from the planners, or wait to learn if it is legal.
"We would recommend going ahead with this, because we know that this particular property needs to have a change of zoning in order to support it to proceed. It's unknown with the other one but as we have to take a look at that, but if there is a need to change that zoning we'll be back to you" -- Rob Buchan from iPlan
Councillor Randhawa followed up seeking clarity on the scope of the changes in mind and if the other properties would remain the same.
In reply he was advised that the proposal was to add a new RS2 zone for this specific project and would only affect the current property under discussion.
Councillor Adey spoke to the need for progress on the project and urged Council to support it.
"The reason I asked the question in the first place is I think that the wheels of this project have been set in motion, and it's in motion for all sorts of good social reasons. So I think that we should go ahead and support it and allow that project to reach its conclusion" -- Councillor Nick Adey
Council then approved the Special Residential 2 Zoning as explained.
You can review the discussion on the topic from the City's Video Archive starting at the one hour, tweet four minute mark.
The Project known as Crane's Crossing, began service as the city's homeless shelter last year, the larger renovation plans will see 45 units of supportive housing for residents created on the upper floors, with the facility to be operated by the North Coast Transition Society.
Since taking the keys to the facility, NCTS has not had much news to share on the progress of the project to date, or to note of any updated timeline for potential occupancy.
For more notes related to Monday's Council Session see our Council Timeline Feature here.
A wider overview of Council Discussion themes can be explored from our Council Discussion archive page here.
Further background on housing issues in the region can be explored further here.