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Pictured above: STEVE RODDICK

Supportive housing development gets council’s OK

City council gave final zoning approval Monday for a new 84-unit supportive housing development after a bit of a roller coaster ride for the project proposal.

By Chuck Tobin on February 14, 2020

City council gave final zoning approval Monday for a new 84-unit supportive housing development after a bit of a roller coaster ride for the project proposal.

The five-storey development is planned as phase one of a two-phase project to provide housing alternatives for seniors.

Phase two is to be a new 32- or 36-unit apartment building to provide independent living alternatives for seniors, to be built on Rhine Way, behind the supportive living development.

Dave Borud of KBC Developments explained this morning the intent is to break ground on the supportive living development in May, with completion scheduled for the fall of 2021.

While the company director could not say precisely what the supportive living project will cost, it will be in excess of $30 million, he said.

Borud said the design team has been on hold awaiting the final decision by council regarding the zoning bylaw.

The Rhine Way lot is already zoned to accommodate the independent living apartment building.

Borud said in theory, they could build both at the same time, though they’re looking to the Rhine Way lot as a lay-down for the construction material required for the supportive living development.

The plan, he said, is to begin construction of the independent living project soon after completion of the first phase.

Initially, KBC Development was looking for a reduction in the parking requirements for the supportive living project, from 42 parking stalls or one for every two living units to 21 stalls, or one for every four units.

City administration recommended to city council the reduction be approved through a change in the zoning bylaw.

The company was also seeking a boundary realignment by slicing off 557 square metres of the Rhine Way lot KBC purchased from the city and attaching it to the Range Road lot to accommodate some parking, waste bins and propane tanks.

At a public hearing on the proposal on Jan. 13, and in written submissions to council, Takhini neighbourhood residents were strongly opposed to the reduction in parking requirements.

On-street parking is already a problem in the area and reducing parking requirements would only make it worse, they insisted.

KBC subsequently revoked its request, and instead proposed an underground parking garage with 38 stalls, in addition to 14 stalls above ground, for a total of 52, or 10 more than the minimum required.

In addition to removing the parking request, the proposed zoning bylaw was further amended to increase the boundary re-alignment by 331 square metres to 888.

Council approved the bylaw in a six-one vote, with Coun. Steve Roddick registering the dissenting vote.

In keeping with his insistence that the city needs to maintain parking requirements for multi-unit housing projects to avoid increasing on-street parking, Roddick suggested the boundary re-alignment was akin to borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.

By slicing off a piece of the Rhine Way lot to provide some parking for the supportive living project, the availability of parking for phase two will be a problem, the councillor suggested.

Other members of council voiced appreciation for KBC’s decision to go with underground parking to address concerns raised by the neighbourhood.

“He certainly showed he was community-minded and will be a good neighbour in that area,” said Coun. Jan Stick.

Borud said today there is a possibility of underground parking for the independent living apartment building as well. It adds to the cost and the construction schedule but there is the possibility, he said.

Borud said the ground conditions are good, just as they are for the supportive living project.

There is a need, a “huge need,” for independent living units in the city, he said.

Borud in the past has described the overall project to council as a seniors’ complex where seniors can live independently, and when they feel it’s time, they can move next door to supportive living units, without leaving the neighbourhood.

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