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Colwood approves 15-storey, mass timber-designed affordable housing replacement for Colwood Lodge

The new Colwood Lodge concept at 85 Belmont Road in Colwood has been approved as a 15-storey, nearly 120-unit affordable rental project that will be constructed out of mass timber technology. The tower will replace the existing Colwood Lodge comprised of 50-units that have reached their end-of-life.  Greater Victoria Housing Society

Colwood approves 15-storey, mass timber-designed affordable housing replacement for Colwood Lodge
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
Colwood council has approved a 15-storey affordable rental tower planned as a replacement for the 40-year-old Colwood Lodge seniors complex along Belmont Road.
 
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The Greater Victoria Housing Society’s (GVHS) proposal will more than double Colwood Lodge’s existing 50 residences with a unit count nearing 120 homes within the envisioned tower.
 
Built out of state-of-the-art mass timber technology, the project will produce zero carbon emissions and prescribe to a minimum Step 3 of British Columbia’s new Energy Step Code building code. Initial plans had estimated the design would yield a Step 4, the highest step, considered to be net zero-ready for new wood-based construction.
 
A decision by GVHS to pursue a mass timber-designed tower, in lieu of an earlier proposal for the property that was to have been a six-storey lowrise woodframe apartment, stemmed from a desire to meet environmental commitments while incorporating efficiencies made possible with mass timber materials.
 
“Ultimately, the decision to design a mass timber tower stemmed from costing, land use, and environmental implications,” said Kaye Melliship, GVHS’ Executive Director, in August of 2019. “The building ...will provide much needed affordable rental housing for seniors and families in the City of Colwood.”
 
Instead of providing underground parking as was the earlier intention with the six-storey proposal, the project will feature a surface parking lot earmarked for future development.
 
The concept will also include a 180-stall outdoor bicycle pavilion tying in to the project’s proximity to the Galloping Goose Regional Trail which runs along Belmont Road.
 
Once built, the new Colwood Lodge will stand as the tallest building in Colwood and on the West Shore, at over 51 meters tall, and as one of the tallest mass timber structures in the province.
  
With municipal approvals now in hand, GVHS will pursue a development permit application later this summer. However, the organization has not outlined an estimated construction start date.
 
The proposal is GVHS’s second affordable housing project in the Colwood Corners area and one of several recently completed or in the planning stages at the hands of other housing providers.
 
Along the 300-block of Goldstream Avenue in Colwood, GVHS is nearing the completion of a six-storey, 102-unit apartment that will feature studio, one, two and three-bedroom suites. The Colwood Lodge site is also a stone’s throw from the recently completed four-storey 550 Goldstream Avenue complex in Langford (with 36 rentals) by M'akola Development Services and the first phase of Oak Park, Pacifica Housing’s 73-unit rental completed last year along the 600-block of Goldstream Road also in Langford. Oak Park's second phase featuring 80 homes is now underway.
 
Along the Old Island Highway Pacifica Housing wrapped up construction in mid-2019 of Helios, an 82-unit rental situated opposite the entrance to Royal Roads University.
 
And in early 2019 the province announced funding for a 124-unit apartment building at 342 Wale Road (now underway) on a site formerly eyed for a 23-storey highrise tower. Its one, two and three-bedroom units will be earmarked for First Nations singles and families. C

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