Over 1,300 Burnaby social housing units proposed

Oct 8 2019, 6:29 pm

After receiving criticism in last year’s civic election for not doing enough on the affordable housing front, the City of Burnaby has announced an ambitious, multi-year plan to create an infusion of non-market housing supply, with the help of BC Housing and senior governments.

The municipal government wants to add over 1,300 new units of non-market housing, effectively increasing its non-market housing supply by nearly a quarter. Currently, there are 5,764 units of non-market housing in the city.

“New affordable housing for seniors, for families with children and more — this is about ensuring Burnaby is a city with a place for everyone,” said Mayor Mike Hurley in a statement.

“During the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Housing process earlier this year, residents told us they wanted more affordable housing of all types. This initiative puts more of the task force recommendations into real action.”

A memorandum of understanding will be developed that outlines the commitments of the city and BC Housing.

Seven properties have been identified as feasible development sites, with six properties owned by the municipal government and one property owned by the federal government. Four of the sites are located in town centres, providing these lots with density bonus potential.

This is the list of proposed locations:

  • 6857-6875 Royal Oak Avenue: 35,000-sq-ft lot, up to 156 units across 133,300 sq. ft. of floor area. City property.
  • 5989 Kincaid Street: 109,000-sq-ft lot, up to 243 units across 207,000 sq. ft. of floor area. City property.
  • 6488 Byrnepark Drive: 91,500-sq-ft lot, up to 204 units across 174,000 sq. ft. of floor area. City property.
  • 7536 Kingsway: 48,000-sq-ft lot, up to 177 units across 151,000 sq. ft. of floor area. City property.
  • 7285 Kitchener Street: 85,000-sq-ft-lot, up to 141 units across 153,000 sq. ft. of floor area. City property.
  • 6365 Stride Avenue: 100,000-sq-ft lot, up to 108 units. City property.
  • 6025 Sussex Avenue: 31,000sq-ft lot, up to 300 units across 256,000 sq. ft. of floor area. Federal property.

For a nominal fee, the municipal government’s properties would be leased over a minimum 60-year period to a non-profit housing society, non-profit housing co-operative or a government housing entity.

The city would also make a financial contribution using its community benefit bonus housing funds to offset city-related permit fees and servicing costs.

On BC Housing’s part, with assistance from the provincial and federal governments, they will fund the construction and operation of the new affordable housing projects.

Other components such as commercial space, childcare, and social and health services could be added to the buildings on a case-by-case basis.

Upon the finalization of the partnership, the city will work towards rezoning the properties and seek partnerships with non-profit developers.

If all goes as planned, the municipal government will pursue BC Housing project funding in 2020, with an aim to start construction on the first projects in 2021.

Additional development sites for more units could be added in the future.