Phase 1 of this affordable housing project (shown above) will include a 40-unit building on Town-owned property at 571 Shaw Road. It will have a mix of studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments. Detailed plans and drawings are included in the Staff Report presented to the Planning and Development Committee on June 16, 2020. The Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society (SCAHS) is leading coordination of the project, in partnership with New Commons Development.
Current Project Status
Q2 2022: Funding for this project appears to have been secured as the Town received a Building Permit application for one apartment building on May 9, 2022.
Q3 2021: On September 21, 2021, the SCAHS reported to Council that its March 2021 application to BC Housing for funding had not been successful. As a result, it initiated a new financing strategy in May 2021, in which it is applying to BC Housing under a different program, as well as to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The SCAHS Board is reasonably confident that this approach will provide the funding required to advance the project; a decision from BC Housing is expected in mid-October. Under the new financing proposal, 30% of the project’s 40 units would be offered at 80% or less of the median market rental rate, with the balance rented at below market rates.
Project History: 2019 – 2020
On January 22, 2019, Council determined that the Charman Creek affordable housing project would be moved to 571 Shaw Road, subject to reserving approximately half of the lot for future development of a potential public park, public playground, community centre, public school, police station, library, community health facility, or not-for-profit housing for seniors. A minimum of 10% of the land is to dedicated as a public park.
On May 16, 2019, the Town received a zoning and OCP amendment application for this project.
On May 21, 2019, Council adopted an amendment to the Reservation of Town Property Bylaw No.1009, 2005 to allow the use of lands for not-for-profit housing generally and removed the requirement that the not-for-profit housing is restricted to seniors.
On July 24, 2019, a Public Information Meeting about the project was held at Christensen Village. Informational posters were placed around the room and representatives from New Commons Development, Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society, and the Town of Gibsons were available to answer questions. Comments were collected until July 31, 2019 and a report to Council on the findings was presented in the fall.
On September 3, 2019, Council gave a second reading to OCP Amendment Bylaw No. 985-22, 2019 and Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 1065-48, 2019.
On September 19, 2019, a Public Hearing for OCP Amendment Bylaw No. 985-22, 2019 and Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 1065-48, 2019 was held at High Beam Dreams, 350 Glassford Road, Gibsons, BC. Approximately 43 people attended the hearing and 7 people spoke in favour of amending the bylaws. Two written submissions were received, also in favour of amending the bylaws. Read the full report on the Public Hearing here.
October 1, 2019: Council gave third and final readings of the two bylaw amendments (described below) required by this project. Subsequently, the Zoning amendment was sent to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for approval. Once that is received, the bylaws will be brought before Council for fourth reading and adoption.
December 2019: a representative from New Commons Development appeared before Council to request a $400,000 contribution toward the cost of building the first phase of 40 units. If approved by Council, the $400,000 would come from the Town’s affordable housing reserve fund. The bulk of the project cost is expected to be covered through an $8.8 million mortgage with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, as well as a grant of approximately $2 million. The Town is also contributing the land for the project, which is valued at about $1.6 million.
April 2020: The Town of Gibsons has received an application for a Development Permit for the form and character of 40 proposed units of affordable rental housing at 571 Shaw Road. This application, with refined design details, has been submitted in follow-up to a rezoning and OCP amendment approved by Council for the same project. In conjunction with the Development Permit, the applicant is seeking a Variance to allow 15 of the required parking spaces to be located off-site on O’Shea Road.
February – March 2020: $400,000 Funding Request
Subsequent to its December 2019 funding request (see “Project History” below), New Commons Development submitted correspondence dated February 8, 2020 which provided additional information to support the request. That letter was received by Council at the February 18, 2020 Council meeting and the following motions were passed:
“That the letter dated February 8, 2020 from Andy Broderick, Managing Director, New Commons Development regarding a $400,000 funding request for Shaw Road Affordable Rental Housing be received: AND THAT a staff report be brought to Council regarding the $400,000 funding request for the Shaw Road Affordable Housing project.”
The requested report was presented to a Committee of the Whole Meeting on March 17, 2020 to provide the Committee with updated information on funding provided to the Society to date and the options available for this request. Read the related Staff Report here.
At a Regular Council Meeting on March 17, 2020, the following motions were carried:
THAT a contribution of $310,000, or the amount equivalent to the cost of DCC’s for the project, from the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund to the Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society for affordable rental housing on Shaw Road be approved; AND THAT Staff investigate and identify future opportunities to top up funding contributions to the Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society for affordable rental housing on Shaw Road; AND FURTHER THAT the identified contribution will be issued to the Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing upon receipt of an occupancy permit for the affordable rental housing project on Shaw Road.
June 2020: On June 16, 2020, a report on “Form and Character Development Permit and Variances for first phase (40 units) of affordable rental housing development at 571 Shaw Road” was presented to the Planning and Development Committee (PDC). Read the related Staff Report here.
The PDC forwarded the recommendations provided in the staff report to Council, and also asked that the Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society (SCAHS) to consider the following design changes: wood cladding around posts, less material used in siding, more window trim, extended gable ends, and more native vegetation.
On June 24, 2020, at a Special Council Meeting, the SCAHS presented drawings that reflected the above design considerations. All were able to be accommodated, except for the wood cladding around posts, which was too expensive. Subsequently, Council approved the issuance of Form and Character Development Permit DP-2020-08, subject to:
- Issuance of DVP-2020-02;
- Receipt and staff approval of updated landscape drawings reflecting most recent parking revisions, individual pedestrian accesses for ground-floor units fronting Shaw Road, and a landscape cross-section drawing showing the relationship of O’Shea Road, landscape buffer and parking;
- Registration of a Statutory Right of Way to allow a portion of the Town sidewalk streetlights, and possible future cycling infrastructure to be located on the property as proposed;
- Raising Title to and registering an easement over portion of O’Shea Road dedication to be used for resident and visitor parking;
- A plan, approved by staff, to protect and/or replace existing trees included in the Landscape plan; and
- Receipt and staff approval of an exterior lighting plan for the buiding.
Additionally, Council directed that neighbours and Transportation Choices Sunshine Coast (TRAC) be notified of the DVP application to relax on-site parking requirements and vary road cross-section requirements to allow private on-street angle parking on O’Shea Road.
July 2020: On July 14, 2020, Council approved a development variance permit for the parking at this project. The variance will reduce the number of parking spots required for the 40-unit, phase-1 building from 36 to 28. The original variance proposed allowing angled parking on O’Shea Road, which would belong to the development. However, this was ultimately found to be a safety concern. Additionally, Transportation Choices Sunshine Coast (TraC) felt angled parking would inhibit the future development of O’Shea as a primary route for pedestrians and cyclists. The planning department has recommended a cycling and pedestrian trail be built along the north property line of 571 Shaw to connect with the existing White Tower Park trail. Read the related Staff Report here.
Q3 2020: Draft servicing drawings have been reviewed by staff. Final plans are to be submitted and a servicing agreement is to be signed, before a building permit can be issued.
Q1 2021: On February 2, 2021, the SCAHS reported to Council that the Shaw Road affordable housing project had been stalled, after it was denied funding by BC Housing and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). As a result, the group has reapplied for a mix of loans and grants worth about $8.3 million, as well as an operating subsidy through BC Housing’s Community Housing Fund. In March 2021, BC Housing announced that funding decisions for projects such as these would be delayed until late May 2021, due to the number of applications received. The total budget estimate for the project is $14.3 million.
Foundation Building: March 2016 to November 2018
In 2015, the Provincial Investment in Affordable Housing (PIAH) program was announced. This is a commitment of $355 million to create more than 2000 affordable rental housing units in B.C. The investment will be distributed over five years and it is hoped that funds from the program could fund the Shaw Road project for Gibsons. Moreover, the NDP government has set out a goal of building 114,000 housing units in the next 10 years. The current availability of this dedicated provincial funding provides a strong impetus to move forward with local Affordable Housing projects in a timely manner.
06-2017: Public Open House re) Possible affordable housing sites and concepts
06-08-2017: Open House posters
A feasibility analysis showed the total cost of the project to be around $ 9,000,000. With senior government funding, this could result in the creation of 40 rental apartments consisting of a mix of 1, 2, and 3-bedroom units. The site would offer a mix of market rents ($ 1,300 – $ 1,850) as well as reduced monthly rents ($ 1,100 to $ 1,500 and $ 900 to $ 1,138) with rent reductions of $200 to $700 below market levels. This mix of rental options of market and below-market apartments would provide affordable housing options to independent seniors or other singles, lone parents, couples, and couples with children. The SCAHS would operate and manage the buildings.
10-17-2017: Based on public input collected at the June Open House, Council tentatively selected two sites for affordable housing projects that could be developed by the SCAHS. Council discussed the importance of considering neighbourhood concerns, while at the same time pursuing housing projects that may help address the urgent need for affordable housing in our community. An extensive consultation process was planned to ensure neighbouring residents and interested community members could provide input into the site designs.
11-07-2017: A portion of the Charman Creek lands was designated as a prospective site for a 40-unit rental housing project, to be developed and funded in partnership with the SCAHS and senior governments.
Consultation Process – February 2018 to November 2018
02-01-2018: World Cafe – Participating community members were asked to describe challenges and concerns they had with the proposed Charman Creek development. Additionally, participants were asked to consider ways by which these challenges and concerns might be addressed or mitigated.
Read report: World Cafe: What We Heard
08-07-2018: Design Charette – Hosted in partnership with the Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society (SCAHS), and held at Christiansen Village, the charette collected feedback on the proposed Charman Creek affordable housing development, which had been redesigned following the World Cafe session held in February 2018.
Read report: Design Charette: Feedback
The following people attended and contributed to the Design Charette held on August 7, 2018:
- Advisory Planning Commission (Scott Keck and Aleria Ladwig)
- BC Housing (Marcus Paterson)
- Neighbour with a background in environmental management (Kim Wilkinson)
- Sunshine Coast Community Services (Carey Rumba)
- Property Manager, Holywell Properties (Adam Major)
- New Commons Development (Andy Broderick and Joe Chipman)
- Urban Matters CCC (Matt Thomson)
- Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society (Dion Whyte)
- Town of Gibsons (Lesley-Ann Staats)
- Architect (Teryl Mullock)
On August 24, 2018, Council endorsed the terms of a draft Memorandum of Understanding between the Town of Gibsons and the SCAHS.
11-28-2018: Open House – Held to present the most current concepts for the Charman Creek Affordable Housing Project (which incorporated public input, a Traffic Impact Study and a Habitat Assessment). The Open House was also used to survey stakeholders and neighbours. See related documents below: