The final vote approving a massive new housing project for seniors and low-income tenants in Langley City passed unanimously at a council meeting on Monday, April 12.
Council approved zoning amendments for the whole site and development permits for the first project – a 101-unit, eight-storey replacement for the Birch building on the Langley Lions Housing Society’s complex in the downtown.
The Birch project is the first phase of a redevelopment that will eventually see the existing low-rise apartment blocks transformed into a 981-unit complex.
“We’ve got a lot of housing challenges, and a program like this will go a long way to resolving them,” said Councillor Paul Albrecht.
“This is a very exciting development,” said Coun. Rudy Storteboom.
He said he was thrilled with the social housing aspect, and noted that it will significantly change the neighbourhood.
The redevelopment is the first project in the City to take place under a joint housing agreement between city hall and the Lions Housing Society.
Under the terms of the housing agreement, 80 per cent of the suites in the eight-storey building near 203rd Street and 54th Avenue must be occupied by tenants 55 and older.
All must be rental suites, with 30 per cent for “moderate income” renters who can pay what was described as “affordable market rents” in a report to council, while 50 per cent pay rent based on a percentage of their income and 20 per cent will be for tenants who require “low income deep subsidy.”
The first new building replaces the Birch building that was torn down following a fire in 2017 that claimed one life and caused extensive structural damage.
Langley Lions Housing Society currently operates several apartment buildings on the 203rd Street property, some more than 40 years old.
Once the new Birch is open, plans call for the transfer of residents from one of the aging buildings that is next in line for replacement.
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