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Affordable housing reignites Dockside Green development

Artist's rendering of the latest phase of the Dockside Green development in Vic West, a two building, 49 unit affordable "work force" housing project along Harbour Road.  Vancity.

Affordable housing reignites Dockside Green development

The City of Victoria has approved two buildings for exclusive use as affordable "work force" rental housing at 370 and 384 Harbour Road as part of the Dockside Green project in Vic West. The development will be in partnership with Dockside Green developer Vancity and Catalyst Community Development Society, a not-for-profit using social equity in project financing that will own and operate the units once completed. Pacifica Housing will handle tenant intake and the day-to-day management.

The two buildings, referred to as R4 (19 units) and R5 (30 units), will rise to three floors with units ranging from 250 square foot studios to 1,130 square foot three bedroom and den townhomes. In accordance with BC Housing Income Limits maximum rent for studio apartments will be $737.50 rising up to $1,675 for townhomes.

Alternative transportation measures for new tenants will include a free bicycle, car share membership and 3 years of subsidized transit passes for each unit. A total of seven parking stalls will be provided.

Approval of this development necessitated amendments to the Official Community Plan (design guidelines for Dockside area) to permit residential use on ground floors and the development of a building with no buffer from Harbour Road. Zoning amendments were also required to enhance definitional clarity specific to the terms "Affordable housing," "attached dwelling" and "multiple dwelling" for parking reasons. Building construction will utilize LEED ND Energy modelling with wood frame construction to optimize design and support larger intentions for neighbourhood Dockside LEED ND Platinum certification.

Artist's rendering of one of Dockside Green's rental buildings.
Artist's rendering of the west face of Vancity's/Catalyst's "work force" affordable rental homes at Vic West's Dockside Green development.  Vancity.

Project approval is associated with elimination of the Dockside Affordable Housing Reserve and payment of reserve funds to Vancity by the City of Victoria in the value of $239,614.17 as well as the return of the Affordable Housing Contribution fund currently valued at $3,578,149. In exchange for release of these funds, the workforce units will be non-market rental housing in perpetuity as per a Housing Agreement bylaw. Affordable Housing is a major component of many City of Victoria initiatives such as the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Task force and guiding documents such as the 2015-18 Strategic Plan and 2012 Official Community Plan.

Development permits had previously been issued at the site for a 7 unit townhouse project in 2007 and a larger affordable housing project in 2009. Other affordable housing units previously completed at Dockside include 26 "affordable home ownership" condos in several completed residential buildings. Delivery of this affordable housing had been a requirement of the original Master Development agreement struck with the City in 2005.

With approvals in hand Vancity is eager to move forward with Catalyst Community Development Society on the first construction project at the site since the completion of the last phase in 2009. Construction is expected to begin next year with completion in 2017. C

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