A new four-storey complex on Goldstream Avenue will add 73 units of affordable housing to the West Shore when it opens in December.
Construction on Pacifica Housing’s Oak Park development at 616 Goldstream Ave. began in September. Townline Construction’s crews are working on the north half of the complex and will put the roof in place before moving on to the south elevation this month.
Langford council approved the project back in the spring. According to Coun. Denise Blackwell, council reduced development cost charges, waived application fees, and instituted a 10-year tax holiday to help reduce costs and encourage the development of affordable housing.
Before beginning construction, Pacifica had to re-home 13 families that were living in the old development.
“It was important that we treat our families with compassion,” said Dean Fortin, Pacifica’s executive director. “We thought, how can we do this differently?”
Doing things differently meant going beyond giving the families the mandated two months notice.
Pacifica hired a relocation co-ordinator to work with the families, spending more than a year setting them up in housing that fit their needs whether it be other Pacifica properties, in the private sector, or other subsidized housing. They also assisted with moving costs Fortin said.
“We were quite successful and we were able to create an amazing model that we passed onto a variety of other non-profits and to the private sector on how to do tenant relocation with dignity and respect,” Fortin added.
The displaced families will also be given right of first refusal on the new units.
Phase two of the project will add another 77 units of subsidized housing to the property for a total of 150 where there were previously only 25. Development of this second complex will mean rehoming more families, plans for stormwater and parking management, and a traffic study. There is no formal timeline in place for this second phase as of yet.
Pacifica is a non-profit organization that manages nearly 1,000 units of subsidized, supported, and reduced market rental housing. They also have an 84 unit complex under construction near Colwood Lake at 2006 Sooke Rd.