May 4, 2018 4:57 pm
Updated: May 5, 2018 9:53 am

Nearly 1,000 new affordable housing units on the way for Vancouver

The City of Vancouver announcing a big investment in housing today. New non-market housing will be built in an attempt to ease the city's housing crisis. But as Ted Chernecki reports, some are questioning the project's location.

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It’s being touted as the “largest one-time municipal land investment” in Canadian history. The City of Vancouver has announced the Community Land trust is going to build almost 1,000 affordable rental units on city land.

The new suites are targeted at renters who make between $30,000 and $80,000 a year. There will be seven sites for development, including three downtown that will include 400 units.

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“Hopefully there will be some units at welfare rates, right up to probably $1,800 to $2,000 per month for the family units,” said Vancouover Mayor Gregor Robertson. “With today’s announcement, Vancouver has made the single largest investment into non-market housing of any city in Canada. This is the latest step we have taken to make sure that people with low to middle incomes can find a home and build a future in our city.”

The value of the seven sites is approximately $130 million. The goal is for ground to be broken on the first project by the end of 2018 and be complete within two years. One of the sites include a proposed 169 units at 1190 Burrard Street and 937 Davie Street, which will also include a new purpose built facility for QMUNITY, British Columbia’s queer, trans, and Two-Spirit resource centre.

WATCH HERE: City announces 1000 new units of affordable housing

“Our goal of the city is for people that work in the city can live in the city,” said Robertson. “From professionals like teachers or first responders to people working in hospitality or retail we want to make sure people don’t have to travel long distances to get to where they work.”

The deal comes as all three levels of government are grappling with providing affordable housing in Metro Vancouver. The largest of the seven developments will be built at 3310 Marine Way, with nearly 330 units set to be erected near Everett Crowley Park.

Vancouver kicked off the search for a developer last year and settled on the Community Land Trust to develop the land.

“We are going to have all the sites built out by 2021,” said the executive director of the Co-op Housing Federation Thom Armstrong. “If municipalities or other level[s] of government have land there is no better place to invest them [than] in the community housing sector.”

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Once the projects are finished the city will work with non-profit organizations to run the community housing. The city says the big reason for picking the Community Land Trust is that the organization can ensure that rents remain affordable in a city known for quickly escalating rents.

“With this land protected by the Community Land Trust, homes can remain affordable for the life of these developments, ensuring that people can rent and put roots down in these communities,” said CEO of Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency Luke Harrison. “And live without anxiety in a world where rents are increasing faster than incomes.”

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