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After 7 years affordable housing project finally moves ahead

Council approved $3M for the project, construction expected to start in May on 3838 Hastings St.

During its Mar. 11 meeting, Burnaby City Council approved a $3,054,700 grant from the Community Benefit Bonus Affordable Housing Reserve (CBBAHR) to S.U.C.C.E.S.S. to develop a six-storey, mixed-use building with 161 affordable rental units. 

According to Wendy Tse, director of community planning with the city, “The grant is mainly to cover city fees as well as development cost charges as well as some engineering fees and off-site works.” 

Most of the project’s funding will come from BC Housing; however, several city councillors said Burnaby is contributing more than the federal and provincial governments combined. 

“I think they’ve been working on this for almost 10 years. Part of the problem was the federal government had a title on a portion of the land, which, after many requests and many years of waiting, they have finally ceded to the city,” Coun. Pietro Calendino said. “This is a project where we are contributing more than a third of the value if we consider the value of the land, $28 million, plus three, so it’s over $30 million, which is obviously more than half of what the provincial government is providing in funding for the mortgages.” 

Rendering of the project at 3838 Hastings St. (formerly 3802 Hastings St.). Photo: CPA Development Consultants

According to a report submitted to council, the project, which was first approved by council in March 2017, will include a mix of units ranging from studio apartments to three-bedroom units. The housing development will be for singles, people with disabilities, seniors, and low-income families. 

“This project really hits the deeply affordable housing population that doesn’t necessarily get hit in other builds,” said Coun. Daniel Tetrault, noting that the target to have70% of the units in this project as deeply affordable is very high.  “Just by comparison to Metro Vancouver housing projects, they aim to have 30% which is considered high, of deeply affordable housing. In terms of that non-market deep affordability, this is really hitting that.” 

Rendering of the affordable housing project at 3838 Hastings St. Photo: CPA Development Consultants

In addition to affordable rental units, the new development will include a 74-space child care centre funded by the Ministry of Education and Child Care, according to the report submitted to council

“I also wanted to highlight how there’s a mix of demographics: seniors as well as low-income families and on-site child care,” Coun. Alison Gu said. “It’s also a social cohesion tool to be able to combine child care and seniors’ housing. So I really appreciate the care that went into this project.” 

The entity developing the project, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., is a non-profit organization founded in 1973, and among its activities is creating affordable housing for people in the community. 

“This has been an empty space for so long,” said Coun. Richard Lee. “I’m happy to see that the project is happening and also S.U.C.C.E.S.S. over the last seven years have been working so hard on getting this project going.”  

The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. website describes the organization as a “non-partisan, non-profit multicultural Canadian organization with a proud 50-year history of serving newcomers, seniors, youth, and families.” 

According to its website, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. has been operating and managing affordable housing in Metro Vancouver since 2008 and currently operates 900 units in Burnaby, Richmond, and Vancouver. 

This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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