A Promise Kept – Provincial Funding Energizes Lakeview Rental Housing Revival

2025 East 12th Avenue and 2776 Semlin Drive
It’s no wonder so many people are disillusioned when it comes to Vancouver’s housing crisis. For decades now politicians of all stripes have promised to act, but then fail to live up to their commitments. As municipalities only receive 1215% of every tax dollar collected, the reason things have gotten so dire is largely due to the continued cut backs and delayed action from provincial and federal governments.

That’s started to change, but it’s understandable why some were sceptical when the provincial government announced its Housing Hub program. Designed to kick-start development of middle income housing projects across the province, its first partnership was with the B.C. Conference of the United Church of Canada. The $12.4 million in funding would help bring over 400 new homes to church-owned lands in four cities, including 100 to the site of the ageing Lakeview United Church.

Lakeview Notice.jpg
While that announcement was made in April of last year, it turns out the church had already received a pre-development loan of over 2.7 million dollars (pg 3) roughly 3 months before, in January 2018. Regardless of when those funds were made available, the proposal went quiet as it slowly made its way through the city’s pre-development process. Now, over a year later, the community has a chance to weigh in as we’ve been made aware of an upcoming pre-application open house.

Naturally the concept has evolved over time. Originally the church envisioned 75 rental homes with roughly half to be rented at 20% below the market rate (pg 7). The April 2018 reveal saw the amount of housing increased to no more than 100 homes, with rents projected to be between $1,200 and $2,700 a month, designed for households with an income of $48,520 – $108,994 a year.

Now the plan calls for 108 homes, with 30% to be offered at BC Housing’s Housing Income Limits rates. This increase in housing may have ledto a change in the building’s design, or perhaps has come at the expense of the 7,000 sqft of multipurpose space the church originally sought (pg 6). Though one thing that hasn’t been modified is the church’s intention to return here.

2018 Lakeview Multicultural United Church.jpg

February 2018 Design -Source (pg 6)

Though the timeline of that return has likely been altered, as the original goal of a 3 – 4 year development process, with construction set to start in July 2020, now seems unlikely. Which is unfortunate, as these delays lead to increased costs, and result in fewer and less affordable homes. Of course, the only way to know what is still achievable here is to come out to the open house.

As the venue is in the church itself, Hannah and I are very curious to see what kind of shape the building is actually in. That said, I might not be able to attend, as Vancouver’s Urban Design Panel also has a busy agenda for that day filled with interesting proposals. However, there’s no reason for you to miss out, so make sure to stop by on June 26, 2019 between 5 – 7pm to learn more.

Applicant Team Information:

Developer Partnership Pacific Mountain Region of The United Church of CanadaColliers International and BC Housing
ArchitectsShape Architecture

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