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More than 600 new units of affordable housing to be added in South Vancouver and the West End

July 27 2017

"There's a huge need for affordable housing for people on low incomes and this week, Council took huge strides in approving projects that will support the delivery of 600 new homes for residents earning less than $80,000 per year," says Mayor Robertson

Illustration of Pearson Plaza and the YMCA in the redeveloped Pearson Dogwood lands
Photograph by Onni Group

Vancouver City Council has approved the rezoning for two major projects that will deliver more than 600 new social housing units for low and moderate-income residents in the city.

The Pearson Dogwood lands will provide 540 City-owned social housing units and the First Baptist Church project will provide 61 social housing units. Together, these two projects will generate more than $232 million in public benefits that will also go towards new amenities and improvements such as parks and child care and will add to the vibrancy and livability of Vancouver.

Need for affordable housing

"There's a huge need for affordable housing for people on low incomes and this week, Council took huge strides in approving projects that will support the delivery of 600 new homes for residents earning less than $80,000 per year," says Mayor Gregor Robertson. "The City has set an ambitious goal to deliver 12,500 homes for low-income residents, as part of our Housing Vancouver plan to provide 72,000 new affordable homes for people who live and work in Vancouver. This new mixed housing at Pearson Dogwood and the First Baptist Church is an important part of Vancouver's housing mix that will allow us to deliver affordable homes for all Vancouverites by having the higher income housing help pay for and provide lower income housing in those neighbourhoods."

Pearson Dogwood lands

The Pearson Dogwood lands, a 10-hectare site at West 57th Avenue and Cambie, is being redeveloped as a complete community with a range of housing, including a requirement for the development to have 20% social housing. The redevelopment includes:

  • Renewed Provincial health care facilities for seniors and people with disabilities
  • Affordable and market residential units integrated throughout the development and targeted for seniors, people with disabilities and families, along with amenities and infrastructure that support the community

Social housing units

Pearson Dogwood will provide 361 turnkey social housing units, and land to construct 179 more social units, all of which will be owned by the City. Seventy  percent of the social housing units will have two to three bedrooms, suitable for families with children. At least half of the social housing units will have rents that meet the Shelter Welfare Rate or the Housing Income Limit at rents geared to income. The remaining units are expected to rent at rates affordable to moderate-income households. Twelve of the social housing units will be made available for use by the Musqueam First Nation.

Market housing

Of the 2,160 market housing units that will be developed on the site, 68% will have two or more bedrooms for family living.

Supportive housing and care facilities

Vancouver Coastal Health is guiding the replacement the George Pearson Centre and Dogwood Lodge to continue to provide supportive housing and care facilities for people with disabilities and seniors. The development will also include a:

  • Community health centre
  • Therapy pool
  • 69-space childcare centre
  • New adult day centre
  • 2.5 acre public park
  • One-acre urban farm

First Baptist Church site

The First Baptist Church site at Burrard and Nelson Street will be home to a new residential building with 61 social housing units, and a tower with 331 market strata units. As part of the redevelopment, the church will undergo seismic upgrading and conservation and restoration work, and the church's program space will be expanded.

Public benefits from the project

The West End Community Plan, approved by Council in 2014, identifies the site at Burrard and Nelson as a location for extra height and density, as a way to generate funds to be reinvested back in to the West End. The plan has targets for 1,600 social housing units and 1,900 secured market rental units. Along with the new social housing and heritage upgrades to the church, the First Baptist project will provide $52.8 million for West End public benefits which will help deliver a wide range of community amenities and capital projects including:

  • The Robson-Alberni public space improvements
  • Upgrading Gordon Neighbourhood House and the West End Fitness Centre
  • The West End Waterfront Parks Master Plan

Affordable rental housing

The First Baptist Church redevelopment will provide mixed-income affordable rental housing in the West End close to transit, parks and social services. The existing 32 rental units on the site will be replaced and another 29 units will be added, with all units to be owned and operated by the First Baptist Church as social housing. The majority of the social housing units (67%) will be rented to households with incomes at or below the Housing Income Limits at rents that are no more than 30% of the household income. Sixty-four per cent of the units would be studio and one-bedroom units targeting low-income seniors living in the West End, while the remaining 34% would have two or three bedrooms to provide new affordable housing for families with low or moderate incomes.

New interim housing targets

The approval of both Pearson Dogwood and the development at First Baptist Church are early steps to achieve our new interim housing targets of 72,000 homes to provide Vancouver residents with the housing they need and can afford, which was announced yesterday in Council. Of these 72,000 homes:

  • More than half of the homes (48,000) are enabled for renters
  • 12,000 are slated are for social and supportive housing, which is a 50% increase from our existing targets
  • 29,000 homes are enabled families

Nearly three-quarters of purposed-built rentals will serve households earning less than $80,000 a year, and 6,800 social and supportive homes will be targeted at residents with an annual income of less than $30,000.