Rutland's Fifth Supportive Housing Project Approved
Rutland's fifth supportive housing project, on the corner of McIntosh and Asher roads, is one step closer to breaking ground.
Form and character for the four storey, 50-unit building was quietly approved in a six to three vote on Monday.
Coun. Brad Sieben did ask B.C Housing representatives for the results of an open house that was held back in January, where stake holders addressed resident’s questions, comments and concerns.
Council was informed that during that information session, area residents had expressed concerns regarding the buildings original colour.
“The dark grey rendering was some sort of reddish colour before we received feedback that it was not as desirable. We did take that back and have gone for a darker grey. We did have colour panels present, which we did share with members of the public who were interested to kind of help them pick as well,” said a spokesperson for B.C Housing.
Councillor Gail Given was among colleagues who were highly impressed with the development.
“The exterior of the building is quite pleasing. We don’t have any problems with balconies etc. that can be a problem sometimes and the articulation looks very nice. They addressed some of the concerns from a colour pallet perspective and it’s got a really nice amount of green space,” said Given.
She and Coun. Sieben were pleased the developer made aesthetic changes in response to community comments.
The project, operated by the John Howard Society of Central and South Okanagan, will allow substance use on site and support services, including overdose prevention services, will be provided.
Although council was voting on form and character, Councillor Charlie Hodge asked about their staffing plan.
“We have 24/7 staff of course and there’s a minimum of two staff on at all times. We also have case management, and that’s staff that works specifically with individuals and supports them in whatever their needs are. There’s a manager that’s full time on site, plus a director of housing first who is available 24/7,” said CEO Dawn Himer, who will manage the facility.
Himer added they will have additional staff during peak times, explaining they have analysis of that, having already operated other properties in the area.
She knows there are particular days that require more staff and assured their schedule will reflect that.
Last month, Rutland residents heavily opposed a similar supportive housing complex that was approved for McCurdy Rd., just 1.3 Km away, stating it was too close in proximity to schools and parks, as well as family and senior neighbourhoods.
Councillor Brad Sieben stressed the importance of dialogue with the public to ensure the project properly integrates into the community.
“Same comments as when McCurdy came before us, we were dealing with it from a form and character stand point. But I’ll say once again, I think it’s absolutely incumbent upon the operator and B.C. Housing and all other parties involved that this integrates successfully and does not have a negative effect on the community around it.”
With little conversation or reason, Councillors Mohini Singh, Maxine Dehart and Charlie Hodge opposed the project.
A building permit will be put to vote at a later date.