A new 87-unit affordable housing development is open in Parksville, with some residents already moved in.
The newly-opened building, at 360 and 364 Moilliet St., provides homes for families, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities, according to a news release by the Ministry of Housing.
It includes eight three-bedroom townhomes and 79 apartments, including a mix of one-bedroom, one-bedroom-plus-den and two-bedroom units. The development is close to downtown Parksville and is within walking distance of grocery stores, parks, health-care services and schools.
“These homes are the first provincially subsidized rental homes to be built in Parksville in many years,” said Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. “Thanks to the combined efforts of government and community partners, they will provide affordable options for a community with a historically low vacancy rate. This is indeed a welcome addition to the community and we look forward to more developments like it in the future.”
There is a “huge” need for affordable housing in Parksville, according to Andrea Blakeman, CEO of Ballenas Housing Society (formerly known as Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society). More than 100 people are on a waiting list for the building and the list continues to grow as they process applications. People can apply through the BC Housing registry, she added.
“Ballenas Housing Society is thrilled to open its first building in the Oceanside area,” Blakeman said. “We are grateful for the support we received from the City of Parksville, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, BC Housing, the Regional District of Nanaimo and community members. It makes a significant difference when many layers of support come together from all levels of government to the local community. We look forward to future projects like this one in Parksville.”
Sixty units will have rent geared to income, where rent is 30 per cent of household income. This includes 17 units reserved for residents with very low incomes, such as those receiving income or disability assistance, according to the release.
The remaining 27 units will be at market rates, which start at $1,360 for a one-bedroom unit, $1,487 for a one-bedroom-plus-den unit, $1,742 for a two-bedroom unit and $2,422 for a three-bedroom townhome. Rents are updated each year based on an income test, Blakeman said.
The owner and operator of the building, Ballenas Housing Society will have an office on site to support residents.
Ahmed Hussen, federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion; Taleeb Noormohamed, MP for Vancouver Granville; Ravi Kahlon, minister of housing; and Walker, along with Doug O’Brien, Mayor of Parksville, and Blakeman announced a combined investment of approximately $30 million to fund 87 new homes in Parksville for people with low to moderate incomes.
This project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the province has more than 76,000 new homes that have been delivered or are underway, including more than 200 homes in Parksville.
“I wish to express my gratitude to everyone involved and, in particular, to Ballenas Housing Society, for creating a well-designed, purpose-built affordable housing project in Parksville,” O’Brien said. “These new homes provide quality housing for a variety of families while also benefiting returning Parksville residents unable to afford housing until now. Through collaboration, we look forward to continuing our strategy to address the housing crisis by developing future projects.”
Forty per cent of the units are spoken for, with the remaining units to be occupied once the rigorous vetting process is completed, said Blakeman, who said each application takes four to six hours to complete.
— NEWS Staff