A proposal for nearly 250 new apartment units in Courtenay will return to council in a few weeks after further discussions on affordable housing with the developer.
At the Sept. 7 council meeting, Rachel Ricard, development manager and Kris Mailman, CEO of Broadstreet Properties/Seymour Pacific Developments of Campbell River presented their proposal of Glenhart View – a three-building, five-story project with a mix of 247 one, two and three-bedroom units and a parkade under each building (along with surface parking).
The proposed development is for 801 Ryan Road and would include an extension to Tunner Road from its current terminus at Hunt Road to the end of the parcel in order to offer an alternative route from Ryan Road.
The proponents are also offering to create a multi-use path and a cash contribution to the city’s affordable housing amenity reserve fund of $123,500.
Richard told council the while the company has more than 11,000 rental units across Western Canada – including a building in Comox on Anderton Road – this would be their first building in Courtenay, which currently has a two per cent vacancy rate for rentals.
She said there would be 26 three-bedroom units and building amenities would include a dog run, rooftops decks and a community garden.
While the current zoning does allow for ground-floor commercial development, Mailman explained the purchase agreement for the property does not allow for commercial space.
While councillors agreed rental housing – particularly three-bedroom units – is desperately needed in the area, some questioned rental rates and the contribution to the affordable housing fund.
“The contribution will be the minimum that would be required,” noted Coun. Will Cole-Hamiton. “Given the real lack of affordable housing, probably more residents would expect from this development that there would be some affordable units within the development.”
Mailman noted one-bedroom units would likely rent for around $1,500, while a three-bedroom, two-bath unit would be around $1,900.
Coun. Melanie McCollum expressed her concerns about affordability.
“The (affordable housing amenity fund) contribution is fairly small in a situation that is quite dire. One hundred and twenty-three thousand on an apartment of this magnitude seems out of proportion for me.”
Matt Fitzgerald, manager of development planning for the city explained a public information meeting was held earlier this year and only one comment in support of the development from an adjacent business was received.
A motion was presented for city staff to continue a conversation with the developer, particularly on affordable housing, a larger green space and options for non-competitive professional services on the ground floor of the building, which was unanimously approved.
Fitzgerald added following the meeting, it is up to the developer to revise the proposal, and it could be presented to council within the next few weeks; council can then decided whether to proceed with first and second reading, which would trigger a public hearing if approved.