Maple Ridge’s largest new building projects would displace people living in mobile homes, RVs and motel units at a site on the Lougheed Highway.
Four new buildings being proposed would have 990 apartment units on two lots at 21668 and 21698 Lougheed Hwy. They are just east of the Best Western Hotel. The plan calls for two 18-storey highrises on each property facing Lougheed Highway, two six-storey buildings and six townhouses. There would also be 20,000 square feet of commercial space at ground level.
The same applicant has a separate proposal before council for the next-door properties, at 21710 and 21728 Lougheed Hwy. It would have another 10,000 square feet of commercial space and 520 residential apartments, bringing the total to 1,510 new living units on a combined 4.3 acres.
City council has a policy to assist owners of manufactured homes whose parks are redeveloped, and that was a main topic when this issue was before council on March 28.
Coun. Jenny Tan spoke to the issue of low-income residents who rely on the housing.
“This application is exciting for many reasons. I think it brings much-needed development, residential and commercial to the Lougheed corridor, and it’s 900 units, which we need in our community,” she said.
But, she added, it’s the first development the new council has seen that will displace lower income residents.
“The people who are going to have to look for new homes because of this development are people who are in manufactured homes, RVs and motel rooms,” said Tan. “And it is very clear to all of us that folks in that category of income, who are living in that kind of housing, are going to need our support…”
She said council can’t put them in precarious housing situations, or displace them, and was skeptical that their compensation will be enough.
“We need to be very careful in our approach here,” she added.
Coun. Korleen Carreras also called it an exciting project, but echoed that the city has to ensure the people on the site are housed.
Mayor Dan Ruimy said there are opportunities to be innovative, “and to ensure the folks that are living there are not the ones that are losing out on this.”
City and provincial regulations will require the developer to survey the resident’s housing preferences, hire a professional to assist them in finding suitable housing, and provide on-site affordable housing options.
The applicant will need to provide mobile home owners compensation of $20,000 or the assessed value of their home – whichever is higher. The assessed value of the mobile homes ranges between $18,000 and $86,000, council heard.
Owners also get two years eviction notice from the date of council’s final approval of the development.
A staff report said there are 25 mobile home pads being rented for $514 to $677 per month. There are also 10 mobile homes being rented for between $800 and $1,100 per month. There are 22 RVs being rented for $400 to $500 per month, and 24 motel rooms for between $550 and $1,300 per month.
The properties are also in a historic slide area called the Fraser River Escarpment, and the applications will not proceed to second reading until a risk assessment is completed. The city is nearing the end of its work on the risk assessment.
Developer Dalvir Singh Sanghera, owner and vice president of the Surrey-based Apna Group, has been dealing with city hall.
They are the same developers who purchased the former Mussallem Motors property for $10.1 million in 2019. They plan two six-storey buildings with ground-floor commercial space and 255 apartments at the site at the corner of Lougheed Highway and 223rd Street.
Council gave first reading to the Lougheed development bylaws.
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