The ground officially broke today on a first-of-a-kind facility in Canada that will provide post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health services to veterans of the Canadian Forces and first responders.
The $312-million Legion Veterans Village is being built at 13525 106 Avenue in Surrey, replacing Whalley Legion Branch 229, which partnered with local developer Lark Group to realize the project.
This redevelopment, designed by Wensley Architecture, will be constructed in two phases, with a 29-storey centrepiece building’s architectural form taking the inspiration of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France.
It will contain the Centre of Excellence for veterans and first responders and the Innovation Centre for Rehabilitation, which will focus on clinical rehabilitation services, research, and the delivery of health care programs, clinical rehabilitation services, research and the delivery of health care programs, services, and trauma counselling.
There will also be mixed health and dental clinics, and outdoor garden spaces.
This portion of the building also includes a new 10,500-sq-ft replacement facility for the legion branch and 48 affordable housing units — commissioned through BC Housing — and temporary transitional and crisis housing facilities for veterans, their families, and the community. Another 148 units within this building will be used as market housing.
A second phase of the complex entailing a 26-storey building will create 325 market housing units.
The market housing component of the entire redevelopment is being used to help cover the cost of constructing the new PTSD and mental health treatment and research facilities.
Legion Veterans Village was first proposed in 2015 with a far more architecturally complex design, and it went through two separate downsizing revisions in 2016 and 2017. These designs were deemed to be too expensive to build and maintain.
The final design created in 2018 restored the spirit of the original memorial-inspired architectural intent of the 2015 design and added a significant market housing component.
The City of Surrey expedited the project’s application process by deeming it as a NEXUS project. Construction on the first phase is expected to reach completion in the spring of 2022.