Two years after it was first announced, a co-operative plan to build 88 units of subsidized family housing and a 59-space daycare and out of school care centre is closer to fruition.
Victoria council sitting as committee of the whole Jan. 28 voiced excitement for the two-building project on Cecelia Road and its potential positive impact on the neighbourhood, which is home to much of the city’s emergency and supportive housing. Council unanimously agreed to send the proposal to public hearing.
Coun. Marianne Alto, council’s liaison for the Burnside Gorge neighbourhood, said there was a lot of enthusiasm expressed for the project at a community association board meeting she attended earlier in the week.
“I’m delighted to see it finally on our table at a place where we’re ready to move this forward and actually get the thing built,” she said, calling the project “extraordinarily exciting.”
“I think particular design really meets so many of our objectives, not just for this neighbourhood but for housing, and design and the balance of green space and public space. There’s been some real excitement about the possibilities of collaboration between the residents of this facility and the Burnside Gorge Community Association and the services they provide.”
The project is proposed for the city-owned playing field space behind the SJ Burnside alternative education centre. It requires rezoning the entire corner, including land the school sits on, and an amendment of the official community plan to large urban village.
Pacifica Housing is on board as the operator for the residential portion of the project, while the daycare and out-of-school programs would be run by the Burnside Gorge Community Association (BGCA). The Greater Victoria School District has committed to provide art education and fitness programs in community flex space planned for the site. The space would be available for use by BGCA programs and events in the evenings and on weekends, and the outdoor plaza would be open to the public at all times.
The plans call for eight studio apartments, 34 one-bedroom, 26 two-bedroom and 20 three-bedroom units at affordable and below-market rental rates. Also in the design are ground-oriented and accessible units that would support aging in place.
The recommendation will be voted on at council Feb. 4, when legal advice on who would pay the $300,000 cost of a new traffic light at Jutland and Cecelia roads will also be heard. If approved, come to public hearing at a later date.