Affordable housing project underway in Nanaimo

By Ian Holmes
March 20, 2017 - 4:12pm Updated: March 20, 2017 - 5:42pm

Artists rendering of an affordable housing project now being built on Bowen Rd.Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre

NANAIMO — A local affordable housing project is geared toward making out-of-towners feel more welcome in the harbour city.

The Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre (NAC) is undertaking the 25-unit townhouse development on Bowen Rd. near Pryde Ave. to help people used to rural settings adjust to an urban environment, according to NAC executive director Chris Beaton.

“Transitioning to a city of 90,000 is dramatic for anybody, when you remove that person or that family from their culture, from their community, there's definitely some culture shock,” Beaton said.

Beaton told NanaimoNewsNOW the approximately 50 bedroom complex is a significant development to fill a desperate community need.

“We haven't built affordable housing for families in this city for the past 20-years, and certainly our city has grown a tremendous amount in those years,” he said. “This is beginning to address that pent-up demand.”

Beaton said an application has been submitted to BC Housing to cover $4.7 million of the $6.2 million budget. He noted construction will take about 11 months and applications to live in the complex will open in roughly five months.

He stressed the project is not designated solely for Aboriginal people and is open to all residents of Nanaimo.

Beaton said rental costs will be at the “lower end of the current market,” as determined by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Beaton pointed out the two storey townhouse development will feature a variety of housing for elders, youth transitioning to independent living and families with young children. 

Amenities will include a common room, children's play area, community garden, courtyard and fruit bearing trees, according to Beaton.

The NAC development on Bowen Rd. is not affiliated with the Response to Homelessness Action Plan housing initiative between the City of Nanaimo and the B.C. government.

That plan saw 123 affordable housing units built for people with substance use and mental health issues since 2011.


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