Construction is underway on a $50 million affordable rental housing project in Guildford that will feature 85 below-market suites in a four-storey building at Kingston Gardens Housing.
The project, at 15243 99 Ave., will replace 24 townhouses which were built in the early 1980s. Jerry Dobrovolny, commissioner and CAO of Metro Vancouver, told the Now-Leader that none of those townhouse residents will be displaced by this re-development.
“Because this is a very large site and we knew that the construction was coming, we held vacancies for a period of time and so people have been moved around within the site and so nobody is displaced and we provide options for them within the site and then once the first building is built then we’ll shift people into the new building and then re-develop in a sequential way,” Dobrovolny said.
“The site is very large with several buildings and so we’re able to move them around within the site. Not displacing the residents is a very important issue for us,” he added. “There is a range of different units that we have, anywhere from starting at about 15 per cent and then we also have units that are rent geared to income.”
Federal Minister of Housing, Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen was in Surrey on Thursday afternoon to make the announcement, along with representatives of Metro Vancouver and the provincial government.
According to a press bulletin, the aim is to provide affordable housing for “families, individuals, and people living with disabilities in Surrey.”
“Each and every British Columbian should have access to an affordable place to call home,” Hussen said. “Housing is not a luxury, it is a necessity.”
Hussen said the federal government is providing nearly $30 million in funding for this project, which will be operated by the Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation. It will offer one to four-bedroom suites “for people with low to moderate incomes, including nine accessible units and amenity space for residents,” close to supermarkets and schools. “I always say that when we’re building affordable housing and providing these investments we’re not just building housing, we’re building communities.”
Jagrup Brar, NDP MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood, said the provincial government is providing $8.3 million toward the project.
“This development will be so helpful for people in Surrey who are in need of safe and secure housing,” he said. “The housing crisis was ignored for years and is hurting people now, especially those who need the extra help.”
Ken Hardie, Liberal MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells, moderated the presser. “This is a big one,” he said. “It’s worth a celebration.”
Sav Dhaliwal, chairman of the Metro Vancouver board of directors, said that “with the cost of living higher than ever before, we must continue to prioritize access to affordable housing in our region.”
Mike Hurley, chairman of the Metro Vancouver Housing Committee, said what excites him is “hearing hammers” and “hearing machinery out here,” and workers “starting to build something. That’s what really excites me.”