The province has started a two-year study into redeveloping a 175-unit complex in Victoria that has provided low-income housing for a half-century, and maintains that its current tenants won’t lose their homes because of the project.
Evergreen Terrace’s properties are aging and require substantial renovations, according to a Friday (Jan. 21) release.
David Eby, the B.C. minister responsible for housing, said the redevelopment feasibility study will look into making the 2501 Blanshard St. site into “modern, affordable homes for a range of incomes while ensuring existing tenants are protected.”
He added that upgrading the site would leave “everyone better off and supports the health of the whole community.”
The two-year, $467,000-study will determine how to best replace the homes and whether the site can accommodate more affordable housing, the province said. The BC Housing-owned and operated Evergreen Terrace, formerly called Blanshard Court, has provided low-income seniors and families housing for more than 50 years.
The site has also included Spaken House, a 21-unit temporary and culturally supportive housing space for Indigenous women, since 2020.
Current Evergreen Terrace tenants, community partners and Spaken House residents and staff have received project information packages and the province said they’ll get to provide input and ideas to shape development plans for the property.
The province said there’s no need to temporarily relocate Evergreen Terrace tenants at this time and tenants are not at risk of losing their homes because of redevelopment. After the study is complete, a rezoning application will be submitted to the City of Victoria. If the project is approved, the province said tenants will be supported to stay in their homes, if possible, until the new homes are completed.
Existing tenants will be given the opportunity to choose new units with no changes to their monthly rent, unless their income or unit size changes, the release stated.
“Redevelopment of Evergreen Terrace has the opportunity to increase the supply of much-needed affordable homes in our city,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said, adding the city commended the steps taken to avoid tenant displacement.
The Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness Society, which operates Spaken House, said they’re pleased to see the project’s progress and welcome the opportunity to be part of the visioning and planning for Evergreen Terrace.
The coalition hopes the redevelopment will increase its “ability to provide more housing and services in a permanent, purpose-built Spaken House residential building.”
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