Homeless housing: Modular building approved near Trout Lake
Modular housing is seen at the site of the Sugar Mountain homeless camp on Friday, April 27, 2018. (CTV)
VANCOUVER – The city has approved the development of another modular housing complex in Vancouver.
In a news release Wednesday, Vancouver's director of planning announced a permit for a 58-unit building at 3598 Copley St.
Each home will be 320 square feet, with a kitchenette, bathroom, living and sleeping area and individual heating system. Six will be wheelchair accessible.
- Tour a temporary housing unit through video from the city.
The building had initially been proposed on a lot further south, near the intersection of Copley and Vanness Avenue.
Located a short walk from John Hendry Park and Trout Lake, the building will be operated by non-profit Community Builders Group. It's about a four-minute walk to Nanaimo Station, and close to a handful of schools.
The group will provide support services including life skills training, volunteer work, employment preparation and connections to community-based programs, the city said.
Residents will be given two meals a day, and will have access to shared laundry, meeting rooms and a dining space.
Once built, there will be a 24-7 tip line available for residents of the area to get more information or raise any concerns. Ahead of construction, those with questions can call a city liaison at 604-829-9321
Already, the city received feedback from the public through email, phone calls and comment cards. Based on neighbours' concerns, it pledged to enhance lighting around the area, preserve as many trees on the site as possible and include landscaping at the front of the building to "bolster privacy."
Construction is expected to start in November, and the building could open its doors in the first quarter of 2020, the city said.
The Copley Street building is one of several erected on unused or underused property. The temporary buildings can be constructed quickly, and taken down or moved when no longer needed.
- Watch a timelapse video of the construction of the Marpole temporary housing building
As of March of this year, there were 605 units of such housing available in the city in buildings on Union Street, West 1st Avenue, Heather Street, Cambie Street, East 37th Avenue, Ash Street, Kaslo Street, Powell Street, Franklin Street and Terminal Avenue. Read more on the City of Vancouver's website.
The goal of the buildings is to provide relief to Vancouver's homeless population, while offering the support they need as they wait for more permanent social housing.
"We know when people have access to housing and supports, they are more likely to successfully rebuild their lives," the city says on its website.
But the temporary housing initiative adopted in the city and surrounding areas has not been without controversy.
Hundreds gathered in Maple Ridge this spring to protest a complex they believed would bring more drug use and crime to the area.
And in 2017, the Marpole building in the timelapse video above was met with opposition from local residents who worried it was too close to three schools.
Dozens of demonstrators met outside city hall several times in November of that year, holding signs with messages including, "Kids' safety first" and "Right idea, wrong location."
A year after it opened, however, the complex appeared to be running smoothly, with a school board spokesperson saying there had been no issues at the school as a result of the modular building.