A proposed new 192 unit housing complex on McKay St. in Prince Rupert has been announced on June 2, by BC Housing to redevelop the aged existing 106 units. (Photo:K-J Millar/The Northern View)

New 192 unit housing development announced by BC Housing for Prince Rupert

The proposed development on Mckay St. is open for community comments

A new 192 affordable housing complex for Prince Rupert is in the planning and development stages, BC Housing announced, on June 2.

The proposed complex will replace the existing 106 townhomes located on McKay, up to Sloan Ave., currently known as Harbour View Gardens.

Due to the age of the 1976 built townhome units and the millions of dollars necessary to repair, the redevelopment of the site to create additional modern and more efficient housing is being proposed.

The project will be a “direct delivery’ property owned by BC Housing available to the general public who qualify financially for the units. Construction is anticipated to start in 2022 and will proceed over the following five to seven years with tenants moving into blocks as they are completed

Sheryl Peters, provincial director of redevelopment with the development strategies team at BC Housing, told The Northern View that they have been working with the current 66 tenants to rehouse them for the development stage.

“The intention is never to displace those people that live there … The intention is that anybody who lived there, at the point of demolition will be offered first right of refusal to come back at their rental arrangement,” Peters said, with BC Housing assisting with moving costs so everything remains affordable.

Concept plans for the redevelopment of the property include a new onsite playground, an increased number of units focussing on families in the community, with some one-bedrooms, and at least five per cent of the units will be accessible allowing for physical abilities and aging-in-place.

BC Housing will also contribute to local offsite improvements to the grounds and play area across the street around the dog park.

“The the objective was to modernize the buildings, because they are quite old, at a one for one replacement, and what that means is if it was a one-bedroom, it will be replaced with a one-bedroom and two-bedroom for a two-bedroom.

She said that while the units are all ground orientated now, with the new build some units may be in an apartment configuration. The units will be constructed as sustainable units with greener concepts and energy efficiency.

BC Housing wants to engage tenants and the local neighbourhood in some constructive comments and information sharing. BC Housing has been working with the tenants for more than a year communicating and creating awareness about the redevelopment and what they want to see as part of it.

“We want to be a good corporate citizen and make sure that our redevelopment plan has some community consultation,” Peters said.

“We’re trying to make the whole site, not just the built form, a lot more amenable to the family environment. So we are aspiring for feedback.”

An online tenant meeting will be held on June 3, at 6 p.m. with an online community meeting planned for June 8, for local neighbours to attend and provide constructive comments. To register for either meeting participants need to email: michael@liveablecityplanning.com.

The current designs are concept and schematic which means after the public engagement sessions, any suggestions or improvements can be considered and refined if necessary, Peters said.

“Then before we submit to the city, we’ll come back out to the public and let them know how their feedback has changed the design.”

A rezoning application will be submitted to the City sometime during the summer months, Peters said which is needed to address an increase in density and some height variances.

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K-J Millar | Journalist 
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