The City of Campbell River has announced another housing project that will create 40 much-needed rental units for women and children downtown near Rose Harbour.
The proposed apartments will be located on property owned by BC Housing, but the city also plans to donate its property at 1180 Fir Street to add to the lot.
“The need for more affordable and diverse housing options is one of council’s key strategic priorities and was among the top community values in the city’s recent citizen satisfaction survey,” says Mayor Andy Adams in the city press release on the housing project.
Campbell River and North Island Transition Society (CRNITS) will manage the new building. The society has a long, successful history of operating Rose Harbor and Ann Elmore House, providing emergency shelter and transitional housing for women and children fleeing violence.
“I am thrilled with the partnerships that have come together in Campbell River creating safe spaces, compassionate care and hope for women and children leaving violence,” says Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “This housing is part of our commitment to work with partners throughout the province in delivering 1,500 homes for survivors of violence. This investment will give choices and provide stable foundations to more vulnerable women on which they can rebuild their lives.”
The new housing is expected to make an immediate impact once completed, according to the city, as it serves the same demographic as Rose Harbour, which has always had at least 40 households on the waitlist since opening in 2013. There are currently 60 households on that list.
Darlene Hawes, board chair of the Transition Society, says the city’s low vacancy rates and high rental prices, along with a lcak of appropriate and affordable housing, means more and more women and children are staying in emergency and transitional housing “for for much longer than is appropriate.”
“The impact is that other people waiting to get into housing are staying in bad situations or are at risk of homelessness,” Dawes says. “The project is expected to make a tremendous difference to providing much needed affordable rental housing for women and children.”
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s January 2020 Rental Market Report indicates that, as of October 2019, Campbell River is reported to have the lowest vacancy rate on Vancouver Island and the second lowest in British Columbia.
Once plans are prepared, the city, BC Housing and the Transition Society will hold neighbourhood and community presentations to answer any questions and receive feedback, so watch campbellrivermirror.com and the newspaper for updates on when those will be happening.
On Monday, council will consider a housing agreement bylaw to ensure the long-term affordability of the new apartment units. The project will then proceed to the next stage of planning and detailed design. A development permit application submission is expected following the completion of the land transfer process.