A portion of Larwill Park in downtown Vancouver will be repurposed as a temporary modular housing complex for the homeless.
The City of Vancouver announced today that it intends to construct two three-storey modular buildings with 100 new homes on the vacant parking lot site. Each building will have 50 units and be provided with 24/7 onsite support services for the residents.
The city-block sized site, owned by the municipal government, at 688 Cambie Street is heavily used for filming and special events such as the 2015 FIFA World Cup Fan Fest and 2017 Drum Is Calling Festival, and it is the location of the new Vancouver Art Gallery building.
However, the temporary housing is not expected to affect the construction of the new museum, as it will occupy the northernmost one-third portion of the block that is slated to become two office towers. The southernmost two-thirds will be the new museum.
According to the Vancouver Art Gallery’s current timeline for its new home, construction is anticipated to begin later this year for an opening in 2021, but it is unclear if this timeline has changed.
“The proposed temporary modular housing project will not delay or impede the construction of a new Vancouver Art Gallery,” reads a release by the city.
“The city and its partners acknowledge the importance the new Gallery will play in the community by providing a vibrant creative hub for citizens of Vancouver and beyond to more meaningfully engage with art through exceptional exhibitions, collection and public and education programs.”
Additionally, the city says it is working with event organizers, the film industry, and other stakeholders to ensure the proposed layout of the temporary housing buildings will allow the continued use of some of the site for events and filming. This project is subject to a development permit.
The BC NDP government announced in September 2017 that it would provide $66 million in funding to construct 600 temporary modular housing units on land owned or arranged by the City of Vancouver. To date, more than half of the units are underway, with about 400 homes in various stages of the development process.
The City’s Development Permit Board is currently considering an application for a temporary modular housing project at Little Mountain.
Modular housing structures, designed to be temporary and movable, are being used as a strategy to address homelessness quickly and at a low cost. Such structures can be built within weeks and at a small fraction of the cost of a conventional structure.