Vancouver supportive housing project gets help from B.C. government
Posted April 18, 2023 5:44 pm.
Last Updated April 19, 2023 1:30 pm.
The B.C. government is stepping in to make sure a social housing project proposed for Vancouver’s West Side goes ahead.
On Tuesday morning, B.C. housing minister Ravi Kahlon introduced Bill-26, the Municipalities Enabling and Validating Amendment Act, to push ahead the Arbutus project slated for an area along West 7th Avenue and West 8th Avenue in the city’s Kitsilano neighbourhood.
“We are in a housing crisis in Vancouver and across the province with too many people sleeping outside. We cannot afford to wait for much of these homes to be built,” he said at the legislature.
Kahlon says the City of Vancouver asked the province to “legislatively intervene” on the project and push it ahead.
According to the city, the proposed supportive housing project is for 64 social housing units within a six-storey residential building that can house 129 people once completed. The development was first submitted to council in April 2022 and referred to a public hearing on Jan. 13 of this year.
However, the project has faced its fair share of backlash.
A neighbourhood group called the “Kitsilano Coalition” has been steadfast in its opposition to the supportive housing project, citing its proximity to daycares and schools. In October 2022, the group filed a petition to B.C. Supreme Court seeking a judicial review of council’s agreement in principle to move the project ahead.
Additionally, in February of this year, many from the group attended a city council meeting voicing concerns over the project ahead of councillors voting to rezone the land so it can be built.
Tuesday’s provincial bill, if passed, would sidestep any potential action from B.C.’s highest court regarding the petition, paving the way for the project to break ground in the fall of this year. Its first reading was passed unanimously on Tuesday, with second and third readings expected to take place later in the spring session.
-With files from Martin MacMahon, Charlie Carey, Mike Lloyd, and John Ackermann