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Potential development sites earmarked by Powell River Council

Council approves applications for pursuing Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation funding to study three city-owned properties
HOUSING PROJECTS: City of Powell River Council gave consideration to applying for funding from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to undertake preliminary studies on three city-owned properties to turn them into land used for accommodations.

City of Powell River Council has voted to pursue Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) seed funding for relevant studies for potential development of three city-owned properties.

At the May 2 city council meeting, councillors reviewed a 0.83-acre property on Drake Street, a 0.36-acre property on Ewing Place, and a 0.56-acre property on Duncan Street. The matter was referred to council from the select committee on city-owned properties.

Regarding the Drake Street property, councillor Cindy Elliott said there was a deadline coming for the CMHC fund. She said the committee discussed the motion before it was sent to city council, thinking the Drake site could be studied through money from the grant. She said if the city was successful in its application, it would help get some housing projects for affordable housing at that site.

Councillor Trina Isakson said the land management strategy references poor water drainage at Drake Street and it is a fairly wet parcel. She wondered if a parcel of land without an intended purpose would be eligible for CMHC seed funding for studies.

Select committee member Lisa Moffatt said the grant funding opened on March 1 and doesn’t have a deadline, but the money dwindles as the time frame extends. She said the fund is for the pre-work the city would want to do in pursuing some kind of development on the properties.

“The motions are intended to ask staff to seek the seed funding to see what is viable at the three sites you have in front of you today,” said Moffatt.

Council carried a motion direct staff to pursue CMHC seed funding for relevant studies needed for the property on Drake Street in the city’s land management strategy.

Ewing Place

Council next considered the property on Ewing Place so the city can move to partner with Foundry Powell River or another nonprofit housing provider, or developer or builder, to create a mixed-use commercial and residential development to accommodate youth-aged and multi-aged residents.

Elliott said it has some restrictions in size and the ability to provide parking, but the committee is excited to do the preliminary studies, if funds can be appropriated, and get moving on a project in this area.

Isakson asked if the committee had talked with Foundry and whether this was a property they had expressed interest in. Elliott said members of the committee talked to Foundry and they are looking for a place. She added that the committee did not know if it specifically wanted this place, but the motion also allows for other potential partners.

Elliott said the studies that the city wants to conduct with CMHC money would assist in perhaps putting it out to tender, searching for partners to do projects.

Councillors unanimously passed a motion to direct staff to pursue the CMHC seed funding for the Ewing Place property, which is currently listed in city documentation as a parking lot.

Duncan Street

Councillors then considered the final property on Duncan Street, so the city can move to partner with a nonprofit housing provider or developer or builder to create a mixed-use commercial or residential development to accommodate low- or moderate-income households. The land is currently vacant.

Elliott said the intention for the property is not subsidized housing.

“We did have some experience on the committee where they had done some preliminary environmental exploration and they hadn’t found anything to be concerned about,” said Elliott.

Isakson said this is some exciting movement from the select committee on city-owned properties.

“The committee has been seeking direction from council and we’ve said ‘find a direction,’ so I appreciate the thought that went into this and the awareness of opportunities,” added Isakson. “We do have a lot of land but a lot of it requires some suitability analysis and feasibility work done. It would help things get started toward that direction to get some additional housing in our community.”

Council unanimously passed a motion for staff to apply for CMHC funding for studies into the Duncan Street property.

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