A joint $22-million investment will bring a six-storey affordable housing project with a net increase of 60 rental units at the site that used to host the Esquimalt Lions Lodge.
As an excavator moved the rocky ground in the background, officials from various levels of government and the Greater Victoria Housing Society announced more details of the 137-unit development at its Esquimalt construction site on Wednesday.
The building is set to be completed by 2024 and will include units ranging from low-rent studios to four-bedroom family spaces.
The province will contribute the lion’s share by investing $14.5 million from its community housing fund, along with $470,000 in annual operating funds.
Esquimalt-Metchosin MLA Mitzi Dean said the township struggles with a housing shortage and the 137 units will help lower-income people of all ages amid the current cost of living crisis.
Federal Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen said the opportunities in his life wouldn’t have been possible without the subsidized rental unit he lived in while getting an education. The feds are putting $6.4 million towards the development.
“The government recognizes that housing like this is crucial to the overall health and well-being of Canadians and we strongly believe everyone and every Canadian should have access to a safe and affordable place to call home.”
Seven of the homes will be fully accessible.
“These homes will ensure that families can raise their kids in a community that they know and love and will give people living with disabilities a home that is not just affordable but actually also meets their needs,” Hussen said.
The Esquimalt project and an 800-unit Saanich affordable development are some getting a chunk of $24 million in federal funds given to the Capital Region District for rapid housing solutions, Hussen said.
The 874 Fleming St. property used to house 77 apartments for seniors at the former Esquimalt Lions Lodge before it had to close.
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said before it was approved last December, there was literally no opposition to the development from the public.
“In fact, they embraced it and really came forward to support it,” she said.
Eleven of the units will have either three or four bedrooms.
“Finding these units in the region is harder and harder these days and to have those in this project is so important to attracting families – multigenerational (and) young families – and our community needs that,” Desjardins said.
Virginia Holden, executive director of the Greater Victoria Housing Society, said among the affordable rentals are 28 shelter-rate studios that will go for $375 for low-income people.
The building won’t produce any greenhouse gas emissions from heat or hot water use and will have three amenity rooms for social activity, 67 parking spaces, 14 scooter stalls and 137 bike parking spots.
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