BC government proposes redevelopment of 11-acre East Vancouver social housing site

Jan 26 2021, 4:11 pm

The provincial government announced today it is exploring the redevelopment of Skeena Terrace in East Vancouver that renews and expands the affordable homes on the property.

The sprawling 11-acre property at 2298 Cassiar Street is on the easternmost edge of the city, about one block west from Highway 1 and Boundary Road.

It is framed by East 5th Avenue to the north, Skeena Street to the east, Lougheed Highway to the south, and Cassiar Street to the west, and about an eight-minute walk from SkyTrain’s Rupert Station. Thunderbird elementary school and community centre is located immediately to the west of the site.

There are no proposed redevelopment designs and proposals at this time, but the announcement kick-starts the preliminary planning and public consultation process.

A redevelopment is required as the 1960s-built social housing structures are aging and require extensive repairs. About 600 tenants, including families and seniors, currently live in Skeena Terrace’s 232 units spread across 20 low-storey buildings.

2298 Cassiar Street Vancouver Skeena Place

Site of Skeena Terrace at 2298 Cassiar Street, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

“Our goal is to create modern and affordable homes for the current residents at Skeena Terrace and future generations,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, in a statement.

“Redeveloping properties is one of the ways we’re delivering new, safe and affordable homes for people with a range of incomes in Vancouver and throughout the province.”

Given the provincial and municipal government’s renewed affordable housing targets, and its effort to reduce homelessness, this redevelopment of one of Vancouver’s single largest social housing sites could potentially see a significant net increase in new homes.

2298 Cassiar Street Vancouver Skeena Place

Site of Skeena Terrace at 2298 Cassiar Street, Vancouver. View from the intersection of Lougheed Highway and Skeena Street, looking northwest. (Google Maps)

There are no plans to relocate Skeena Terrace tenants at this time. If the redevelopment is approved, the tenants will be supported by BC Housing to stay in their units as much as possible, and given the first choice of new units, with no change in rent, unless their income or household size has changed.

Similar to the now-demolished Little Mountain social housing buildings near Queen Elizabeth Park, the existing Skeena Terrace buildings were constructed with the support of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

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