Town of Qualicum Beach officials got an opportunity to see first-hand the design of a proposed affordable housing project located on a property at Railway Street and Village Way.
David Simpson of DYS Architecture presented drawings and renderings to council at its regular meeting on Feb. 3.
The project, spearheaded by the Qualicum-Parksville Kiwanis Housing Society, proposes an affordable 56-unit multi-residential development on the town-owned land. It will feature an apartment building with 48 rental units and a separate eight townhouses.
The society has leased the property from the town for 60 years to construct and operate the building. The land, approximately 7,690 square metres, was rezoned in early 2020. The proposed five-storey apartment building will feature a mix of studio, two-bedroom and three bedroom units.
Coun. Teunis Westbroek asked what the rental rates were going to be and the proponents indicated rental for a studio apartment is projected to be $375 per month, while the two bedroom units will be $560.
The rentals are going to be geared to income, said Coun. Scott Harrison, who pointed out that for a two-bedroom unit the income limit stipulated by BC Housing would be $40,500 for Parksville Qualicum Beach.
“I thought it was important to raise this issue, the rent part because a lot of people will look at this and go ‘why are we doing this?’ Because we really need it,” said Westbroek. “There’s a lot of people who are homeless or close to homeless because there’s no place for them they can afford to rent. But they work in the town and living in their vehicles or couch surfing. So this would be a big help to a lot of people who work for low-to-medium income in Qualicum Beach.”
The proponents of the project will present a comprehensive proposal to BC Housing.
The application for development permit will now be submitted to the advisory planning commission, which is expected to review the design elements and make recommendations.
The town also plans to give residents a chance to provide input and comment on the design. A survey will be distributed online with a link to the plans. Director of planning and community development, Luke Sales, said this is a follow-through to the commitment council made a year ago during the rezoning process.
“I should note, it’s not necessarily an opportunity to comment on whether or not an affordable housing development is appropriate at this location because that decision has already been made,” said Sales. “So it’s really looking at the design and determining whether changes need to be made moving forward.”