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Significant church housing project to public hearing

A public hearing is moving ahead for a housing development that would bring 56 “affordable-purchase” apartments to Kamloops’ downtown core.

City council agreed this week to move forward with a rezoning application for the next phase of Kamloops United Church’s Vision 421 project.

The rezoning would see the church property at 421 St. Paul St. designated as central business district from church use, which would allow for worship and residential uses.

The project, which began its first phase in April, would see church buildings scaled back to make way for a six-storey, mixed-use affordable-housing project.

It would include space for the church’s offices and thrift store at ground level, as well as 56 suites of varying sizes, from bachelor to three-bedroom, and underground parking.

Ron Routledge, a member of the Vision 421 committee, said the church is still negotiating with BC Housing on the project, but the goal is to sell many of the units at 10 per cent below market value.

Routledge said potential purchasers will have to qualify for one of the units, noting there is a maximum net income a buyer can make per year.

“Some will be seniors,” he said. “We do expect there will be some young people, single folks that are looking to start into the housing market, especially those that have jobs in the downtown core and that sort of thing, and even young couples that, again, are just trying to get started.”

The project is expected to go to the BC Housing board for approval in the next week.

Routledge hopes to see construction start next spring, if the city and BC Housing give the project the go-ahead.

“But, we suspect that there will be some criteria that BC Housing will be asking us to follow,” he said. “One of those is probably going to be pre-sales of a number of the units.”

Kamloops city councillors agreed unanimously to take the plan to public hearing, with Mayor Peter Milobar recusing himself from the vote “for perception’s sake” as his mother and sister are heavily involved in the project.

 

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