They took up both of the northbound lanes as they headed to the 500-block of Dogwood Street, but over the course of just three days this past week, truck after truck delivered its payload to the site.
They were dropping off the pre-fabricated modular housing units that would be stacked like giant Lego bricks to create a three-storey complex that will be the new supportive housing complex approved for 580 Dogwood Street by the city less than 100 days earlier.
Mayor Andy Adams says the project is another huge step in addressing the city’s housing needs, and it needed to get done ASAP.
“Our goal right from the start was to try to get the housing done before the winter months,” Adams says. “When it became obvious that wasn’t going to happen, that’s when BC Housing went ahead and purchased the Rose Bowl to set up the 20 temporary cubicles.”
The 20 people in the Rose Bowl, along with 30 others, will soon be moving into the new Dogwood Street facility.
“They’ve got a tentative date of January to be able to move people into the building, but the way things are going, there’s a very real possibility it could be earlier,” Adams says.
While this facility is an important step towards addressing the housing needs of the community, the mayor admits it’s not enough.
“This isn’t going to meet all the need, and we know that,” Adams says. “But when we take a look at the success of the old Travelodge has been with M’Akola Housing purchasing that, and Linda’s Place opening and then on Monday night we approved 850 Dogwood to become another 79-unit ‘market affordable’ housing complex, and we’re hearing that there are going to be another two or three in the works, as well, so while we’ve been talking about a lack of affordable and supportive housing in this community for at least 10 years, and in the last two years we’ve finally broken through and started to get things done.”
Cleo Corbett, the city’s senior planner of housing and community development, agrees that while there will still be a significant need for this type of housing even after this facility is up and running, “we all believe that this will make a really meaningful, positive impact in the community.”
She’s also confident in the way it’s being constructed.
“Modular building is just a really efficient way of constructing a building,” Corbett says. “The units are built off-site, in a warehouse, while the foundation is being prepared on site, so the construction of the facility isn’t affected by weather and temperatures and whatnot. And once the foundation is in place, the building itself can go up in under five days.”
Corbett also says that the speed at which the facility is built doesn’t indicate a lack of quality, either.
“Council approved the location July 21, and here we are at under 100 days and we’ve got a building going up, we got to do urban Indigenous housing dialogue, we had neighbourhood dialogue sessions to reach out to the neighbouring community and make sure there was good information out there and address people’s concerns, and I don’t feel like we compromised at all on quality. We’re all pretty proud of that.”