Plans for an affordable and supportive housing complex run by the Cool Aid Society on Gorge Road East have been sent back to the drawing board by Victoria City Council.
Cedar Grove, located at 210 Gorge Rd. East, currently runs as a 21-unit supportive housing complex out of the remnants of a previous motel.
The Society hopes to transform the lot into a mixed-use complex with 32 supportive housing units and 50 affordable housing units following a $17.5 million renovation. This would supply housing for up to 90 people.
However, the project’s most recent design plans do not align with current neighbourhood plans, so they were sent back to for redevelopment.
In an emailed statement, Cool Aid said they were disappointed with the decision.
“Cool Aid is going to sharpen our pencils and get back to the drawing board to try and create a project that will address neighbourhood concerns and be financially viable,” said Cool Aid CEO Kathy Stinson. “We will move forward as quickly as possible.”
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said the decision came as the City tried to balance different needs.
“I’m very committed to affordable housing and ending homelessness,” Helps said. “But I’m also fully committed to neighbourhood plan.”
Helps added that the biggest issue was the height of the building, since Cool Aid’s plans showed six storeys, while the area’s Neighbourhood Plan calls for four storeys, or five if the first storey offers commercial space.
While no dates have been determined, Helps added that affordable housing complexes get priority in the approval process.
“If it’s rental housing it’s expedited, and if it’s affordable rental housing it’s expedited-expedited,” Helps said. “We didn’t ask for a substantial redesign, all we asked was that it fit the neighbourhood.”
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