Changes lead to bigger facility

Altered design plans for a women’s transition shelter have the facility expanded from its original proposal.

Altered design plans for a women’s transition shelter have the facility expanded from its original proposal.

The proposed shelter is now slated to be constructed solely on Dogwood Street and will contain 33 apartment units for women with counselling and support services on site.

Originally, the facility was to have 30 units and be built on two lots on Dogwood and one lot on Fir Street which would be used as a parking lot.

B.C. Housing was concerned the lot would be too steep and to fix the problem would be costly, said a city report to council. It was also concerned about the lot configuration of the entire facility.

Ian Buck, the city’s land use planner, said the building applicant purchased a neighbouring lot on Dogwood, eliminating the problems associated with the Fir Street lot and has also drafted the building as being rotated by 90 degrees on the site.

“This new layout improves the visual appeal of the site from the street and creates the opportunity for an enhanced landscape plan on the Dogwood frontage,” said Buck.

The Dogwood lots are located near 11th Avenue – two are owned by the city and form part of an old road right away while the third is currently a chiropractic office.

The building is intended to become the city’s first LEED Gold certified building and will minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

“The landscape plan includes a tot play structure and planting beds for food and flowers. Staff has encouraged the applicant to make these available as community gardens to the tenants,” said Buck.

The design plans also have an electric car charging station penciled in to the parking area which can accommodate up to 11 cars.

“The people who are cared for at the transition housing will be from vulnerable situations and will depend on 24 hour supervision,” said Buck.

“They will be provided assistance in all aspects of daily living activities. Staff does not expect this type of use will generate a significant parking demand.

Furthermore, the location adjacent to downtown is in close proximity to various services including the main BC Transit interchange at the Community Centre.”

The proposed four-storey building includes a main floor with offices, amenities and common space for the tenants with 12 bachelor units, 15 one-bedroom units, three two-bedroom units and three three-bedroom units spread out among the other three floors.

The project is a partnership between the city and BC Housing to get at-risk women and single-parent women and their children off the street.

The project will cost the city $90,468 in development costs plus an undetermined amount for the installation of services such as sewer, water and storm drain connections, trees, streetlights and sidewalks.