Fears unfounded over Vancouver modular housing project one year in
One year after opening, a controversial temporary modular housing complex in Marpole appears to be running smoothly.
The 78-unit building on Heather Street faced widespread backlash from nearby residents. A few days’ worth of protests occurred, with several neighbours voicing concerns their property values would decrease and children at nearby schools would be harmed.
“Kids were out during recess and they came up to the fence so imagine having vulnerable children looking over,” said Anamica Mehta at a protest in November 2017.
However, according to the City of Vancouver that has not been the case.
The Vancouver Police department has responded to 33 calls for service at the address since opening in February 2018. Some of the call types included missing person, assist the general public, or check on well-being.
A police spokesperson confirmed it is not an exorbitant amount of calls.
In addition, a spokesperson with the Vancouver School Board said there have not been issues at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary, Sir Wilfrid Laurier Elementary, or Ideal Mini School as a result of the complex or its residents.
A nearby homeowner told CTV News his renters have not noticed any problems with the modular housing or its residents.
“The people that own property were scared that the property value might drop but, you know, it's Vancouver,” said Eric Sun.
The most vocal opponents, the Caring Citizens of Vancouver Society, denied CTV’s requests for comment. In January, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the society's attempt to launch a final appeal.
Julie Roberts, the executive director of Community Builders Group, said most of the tenants of the modular housing project have blossomed.
“We've seen a large number of people that have moved in return to the workplace, some part-time some full-time. We've had a number of people that have enrolled in educational programs,” she boasted.
And while the project has stories of success, there has also been tragedy.
Many of the residents were homeless and hadn’t seen a doctor in years. Once connected with medical care, several were diagnosed with terminal illnesses, and two have died.
“We were really grateful that we were able to connect them with their family and that they were able to be in a home environment as they were battling some end stage disease,” said Roberts.
The City of Vancouver said the Marpole modular housing project is being heralded as an example for cities across North America to follow.
"We've certainly had interest from all over Canada, and actually the United States as well about the use of temporary modular as a way to deliver homes fast," confirmed Abi Bond, the city's director of homelessness services and affordable housing programs.
Another more temporary modular housing project will soon open on Union Street.
After that, the city is expected to ask the province for more of the units.