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Proposed mental health and rehabilitation centre for Canada's veterans gets new design

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Kenneth Chan Jun 12, 2018 12:13 pm 1,129

A new design for the Legion Veterans Village in Surrey significantly expands the scope and size of the project to become a relatively large mixed-used redevelopment.

On Monday, Surrey City Council provided the redesigned project with its preliminary approval in its first and second reading. A third reading and public hearing are scheduled for June 25.

The project – a partnership between Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command and local developer Lark Group – will replace Whalley Legion Brand 229 at 13525 106 Avenue. The new $66-million Legion Veterans Village facility is intended to provide Canadian veterans and first responders with a state-of-the-art facility for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health treatment.

Current condition

Whalley Legion Branch 229 at 13525 106 Avenue, the site of Legion Veterans Village. (Google Maps Satellite View)

Whalley Legion Branch 229, the site of Legion Veterans Village, looking northwest from the corner of 106 Avenue and 135a Street. (Google Maps Streetview)

Future condition

Surrey Veterans Village

Artistic rendering of the 2018 design for Surrey Veterans Village. ((Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command / Lark Group)

It will become the Centre of Excellence and the Innovation Centre for Rehabilitation, providing clinical rehabilitation services, research and the delivery of healthcare programs, and services for PTSD and mental health. There will also be a 10,000 sq. ft. replacement Legion space within the complex.

An ambitious initial design envisioning a landmark tower was proposed in 2015, but it was scaled down in 2016 and again last year due to cost.

Surrey Veterans Village

Artistic rendering of the 2018 design for Surrey Veterans Village. (Wensley Architecture / Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command / Lark Group)

Surrey Veterans Village

Artistic rendering of the 2018 design for Surrey Veterans Village. (Wensley Architecture / Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command / Lark Group)

However, the latest redesign by Wensley Architecture – with the institutional facility, replacement Legion, and supportive housing – is improved by proceeds that will be generated by incorporating a significant market housing component into the redevelopment.

And with the monetary boost, the original architectural concept of a design inspired by the Canadian National Vimy Ridge Memorial in France is respectfully enhanced and strengthened, although not quite to the same level as the original 2015 design.

The 20-storey tower that will contain the clinics, PTSD and mental health treatment facilities, and new Legion also provides a mix of housing types, including 48 affordable housing units for veterans and their families and 148 market housing units.

The bulk of the market housing will be within an adjacent 26-storey tower with 325 market housing units.

This gives the redevelopment a total of 473 market homes.

Surrey Veterans Village

Artistic rendering of the 2018 design for Surrey Veterans Village. (Wensley Architecture / Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command / Lark Group)

“We are excited to see the Legion Veterans Village project moving along smoothly with the City of Surrey,” said Kirk Fisher, Senior Vice President of Lark Group, in a statement.

“The project has progressed by leaps and bounds and the City of Surrey has been an amazing partner in fast-tracking this innovative project as part of its NEXUS program. We are in the final approval stages and are looking to break ground by fall of this year.”

With final municipal approvals expected this summer, construction on Legion Veterans Village is anticipated to begin this fall for a completion in late-2020. The overall redevelopment will be completed in two separate phases.

Cancelled 2015 design

The first (2015) design for Legion Veterans Village in Surrey. (Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command / Lark Group)

Cancelled 2016 design

The second (November 2016) design for Legion Veterans Village in Surrey. (Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command / Lark Group)

Cancelled 2017 design

Third and latest (November 2017) design for Legion Veterans Village in Surrey. (Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command / Lark Group)

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Kenneth Chan
National Features Editor at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]dailyhive.com

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