The parking lot of North Vancouver’s former Delbrook Recreation Centre will yet be home to affordable housing.
BC Housing announced Friday it would fund the capital costs of Hollyburn Family Service Society’s 86-unit affordable housing project for families, youth, seniors and people with disabilities, to be built at 600 West Queens Rd.
“This is a need that's been around for a long time. The need is not [going away]. It's increasing,” said Nanette Taylor, executive director of Hollyburn. “It's another step closer to being able to finally offer housing because it's a real scramble right now on the front lines to try and find roofs over people's heads.”
When the project is complete, it will close a controversial chapter for the Delbrook lands. In November 2018, the newly elected council quashed a proposal from non-profit Catalyst Community Developments to build 80 units of below-market rentals and a seniors’ respite centre in a five-storey building on the site, largely over concerns from the neighbourhood.
Later, council opted to create a neighbouhood park on the northern portion of the property and rezone the parking lot to allow a residential building of up to four storeys, which they then sought out non-profits to help develop. Council selected Hollyburn for the project last fall after putting out a request for proposals in 2019.
Taylor said the district is owed kudos for taking the initiative to pre-zone the land, which made their application to BC Housing for funding much smoother.
“We are very pleased with the funding announcement from the province today, which will help propel this important project one step closer to completion and one step closer toward our goal to deliver much-needed affordable rental housing for middle- and low-income families and individuals in our community,” said district Mayor Mike Little, in a release.
Under the province’s funding formula, 20 per cent of the units will be rented at a deep subsidy, reserved for people on disability or income assistance, low-income seniors and youth ($375 to $650 per month depending on the number of bedrooms). Half of the units will have their rents capped at 30 per cent of the household income for individuals and families making up to $64,000 per year. And 30 per cent of the suites will be offered at below-market rates to households earning between $74,000 and $95,000 per year, depending on the number of bedrooms needed.
The building will have 47 one-bedroom, 27 two-bedroom and 12 three-bedroom homes.
Taylor said she is optimistically hoping to have the first residents moved in within two years.
“The sooner it can get built, the better,” she said. “We've already been getting phone calls from people who want to be on a wait list. ... When the shovel goes in the ground we'll start that process.”
With three years of consultation and the proposed building being scaled back once already, Taylor said she is not expecting much pushback from nearby residents.
“We're hoping that they are happy to see that the district is taking on establishing more affordable housing for its citizens,” she said. “There's always a NIMBY in the crowd, right? You can't please all the people all the time. But I'm hoping that most of the strong resistance has been responded to.”