A 34-unit multifamily building designed for those in severe need of housing has had a development permit (DVP) approved for the property located at 1300 Hays Cove Ave.
The housing project is a partnership between the City of Prince Rupert and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), planned to be funded under the Rapid Housing Initiative, specifically serving women and children.
Under the funding requirements, full occupancy must be obtained within 18 months of a funding decision, which is not expected by the city until July.
The City of Prince Rupert is applying in advance for permits as time frames are tight for project completion.
“Consequently, the city is seeking permits ahead of July so that contractors may begin clearing and construction immediately after funding is confirmed,” Myfanwy Pope, city planning manager, stated in a written report.
City councillors gave the go-ahead at the regular meeting on May 15, after Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller stated the city had not received any opposition or comments on the proposal.
According to the draft DVP in the city council agenda, the approval will also include a bylaw variance allowing the principal building height from 10 metres to 14 metres. The DVP will also allow only 28 parking stalls, six parking stalls less than the usually required one per unit, which in this case would have been 34.
Street parking overflow is not a concern as the “target-income-and-demographic-group” of the housing development (women and children) is less likely to own vehicles, the city planning manager stated in the report.
“This demographic is less likely to own their own vehicle due to financial constraints and may engage in ride-sharing, taxi-use, and public transit more often,” she stated.
The property is located on a bus route along Hays Cove Ave. which is within walking distance; it is near Conrad Elementary School. The Frederick St. 99 Special bus stop, which transports students to Prince Rupert Middle School and downtown to Pacific Coast School, is also close by. Pope noted in her report that several childcare centers are within walking distance.
Council heard the municipality worked with contractors at no cost to develop designs, budgets and plans for the development for the specific site, which will not require any rezoning.
The property is located across the street from an existing B.C. Housing complex and will be able to handle an increased population density.
“The proposed height variance and parking reduction are largely due to the physical constraints of the property,” Pope outlines in her report. ” The proposed location on the site is the only place as determined by contractors, to blast bedrock and place the building with parking. These designs were used to determine the contribution ask for the Rapid Housing Initiative finding from CMHC.”
The city planning manager explained that the 2022 Housing Needs Assessment results show more than 1,560 one to four-bedroom units are required by 2030 to house very-low and low-income households in Prince Rupert.
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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