The move is on to tear down a vacant rest home – the former McBride Manor – and build a new affordable housing complex on the East Trail property.
“We consider this an excellent site for affordable housing,” began Jan Morton, chair of the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society. “As it is located within easy walking distance of so many community, health and commercial services.”
Located on the 1200 block of Columbia Avenue, the property is currently owned by the Provincial Rental Housing Corporation. In partnership with BC Housing, the society is proposing to purchase the property and construct a new multi-family complex that will also include four one-bedroom units.
“We anticipate the building will consist of nine units of housing for a mixture of lower income families and seniors,” Morton told the Trail Times. “We have entered into the Project Development phase during which we secure more detailed design and costing of the proposed building, including site preparation.”
Before the society can begin the job however, a critical step must be completed by local government. First, Trail council must give its stamp of approval to re-zone the property for the new intended use, which is “R5” or Small Multiple Family Residential.
Council began that process Monday night by green-lighting the society’s re-zoning application, and giving two readings to the subsequent bylaw amendment.
As with any bylaw amendment that involves re-zoning, the next step is to notify all properties within 50 metres of the proposed change-of-use. Then, before the bylaw is officially adopted in council chambers, a public hearing must be scheduled to give those neighbours a chance to voice concerns and/or opposition.
The city’s Sandy Lucchini confirmed the public hearing is slated for Jan. 28. Final adoption would follow at the next council meeting, on Feb. 11.
“We hope to have this phase completed by early spring at which point we seek Final Project Approval from BC Housing and can begin construction,” said Morton. “Assuming all goes smoothly … we are aiming for occupancy by early 2020. We will begin taking names for a waiting list once we have final project approval this spring.”
After site demolition, the plan is to build a housing project comprised of four one-bedroom units, three two-bedroom units and two three-bedroom units.
Notably, the current zoning of the property would allow its use for a three or four-unit family dwelling, a rest home for up to 10 boarders, or housing for seniors.
Because the housing development proposed by the society would not be limited to seniors, a rezoning of the property is required.
Back in November the society received a $900,000 grant from BC Housing to build a new structure in Trail that would house both low income seniors and low income families.
According to BC Assessment the East Trail property is presently valued at $316,300.