The green light was shone on the Lax Kw’alaams WAAP Housing Society (LKWHS) development project when all city councillors voted unanimously to approve the rezoning of the 11th Ave. property, on Nov. 22.
After the city council’s third reading of the residential zoning bylaws, which were approved on Oct. 4 to allow the multi-unit building, the amendments required the Ministry of Transportation’s seal of approval stamped on Nov. 10.
The contentious project had city residents divided with opposing petitions. A new term of “not in my back yard” was coined by residents regarding the 70 unit housing complex, stirring up an affordable housing debate. In a unique move, a public hearing surrounding the concerns and supportive arguments was adjourned to a second night, so Prince Rupert council members had the opportunity to hear all arguments for and against.
Some of the concerns from residents were regarding traffic and sightlines, increased population density, loss of nature space and a large structure in a residential area.
“Council took the time necessary to hear everyone’s concerns by hosting two public hearings, and although there were some mixed opinions – those opinions were expressed respectfully and with passion,” Lee Brain, mayor of Prince Rupert, said.
“Ultimately, we feel the proponent addressed and plans to mitigate many of the concerns that were expressed from folks on the ground,” Brain said.
The multi-family affordable housing complex, announced just over a year ago, will accommodate Lax Kw’alaams member families, seniors and those with accessibility needs in 35 three-bedroom, 16 two-bedroom, 11 one-bedroom, and 8 studio units.
The development project which is expected to break ground in the spring of 2022 is a partnership between BC Housing, Lax Kw’alaams WAAP Housing Society, and the City of Prince Rupert. The six-story building area will be 61,554 sq. ft and is leased by LKWHS for an initial period of 60 years.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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