Parksville city council met on July 20 and discussed affordable housing in the area. (NEWS file photo)

Society wants to add more low-cost housing options in Parksville

Council to hold special meeting July 27 to discuss issue

The Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society wants to see more low-cost housing options in Parksville.

Society members made a presentation at a July 20 council meeting, asking council for support on an application to BC Housing. There is no guarantee that they would get granted money from BC Housing’s Community Housing Fund, but presenters said council support would help significantly. Council made the move to defer the decision to a special council meeting next week.

Coun. Mark Chandler brought forward the idea to defer the decision.

“I don’t really feel like asking for resolution tonight is going to give us enough comfort, in a sense, I think it would be a really good idea for us all to maybe have a potential chance to go out and do some meeting,” he said.

The property, located at 371 Alberni Hwy, would include somewhere between 70 to 80 units for seniors, couples and singles with and without disabilities. However, on their delegation request they said their target market is “people of varied backgrounds, aged 50-plus.”

The presenters, Andrea Blakeman and Daryoush Firouzli, pointed to the 344 applications BC Housing has from Parksville residents looking for affordable housing.

“Which is interesting, because we house already a number of people from Parksville that couldn’t find housing,” said Blakeman. “Which is partly why it seemed like the right thing to be here because we have many tenants that would otherwise be living here.”

READ MORE: Affordable housing a top priority for Parksville council

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READ MORE: Parksville council members share views on affordable housing

The NAHS doesn’t currently own the land – they would purchase it from the current owner, Quality Foods. They specified that they would be building independent units, rather than supportive housing.

Coun. Marilyn Wilson said Parksville has a lot of affordable stock coming up and wonders if they’d be able to fill all the one-bedroom units. She, as well as Coun. Doug O’Brien, said that Qualicum Beach might have more of a demand for affordable units. NAHS said they hadn’t looked at the demand in Qualicum Beach.

“We do have an awful lot of one-bedrooms and we do have some affordable units coming through that developers have asked for DC waivers, so that they can add some affordable units to their apartments, so we have actually quite a lot of building coming through right now,” said Wilson.

Coun. Adam Fras expressed concern about the quick turnaround needed on their decision.

“It does sound like a fantastic project that would meet a lot of the needs of the communities, I think it’s just maybe a matter of getting more comfortable with a brand new relationship there,” said Fras.

Council will make a decision at a special council meeting on July 27.

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