Cedar Grove currently provides 21 homes for folks who are marginalized for a variety of reasons, and are in need of safe, affordable housing. The Cool Aid staff actively involve the tenants in building a strong and healthy community. At the same time, we offer our tenants support to develop the skills they need to be able to live independently, and to understand the rights and responsibilities associated with being members of the larger community.
Read more about our current operations at Cedar Grove.
About this project
Cool Aid submitted a rezoning application to the City of Victoria in late November 2017, for the redevelopment of our property located at 210 Gorge Road East. Our original proposal was to create a six-storey, 82-unit affordable rental building with housing for tenants at a range of income levels, along with important health and support services for the residents who need it.
We heard a range of concerns expressed from the community, with a focus on both height and density of our proposed design. We heard your concerns that – at six stories – the building was too high, and that there were too many units in the proposed building.
We’ve listened to the Burnside Gorge Land Use Committee and to our neighbours, went back to our architects, and asked them to make changes to address your concerns, while still maintaining the majority of the design and landscaping features of our original proposal.
Revised Development Proposal
The key revisions to our proposal include:
- A reduction in the number of storeys from six storeys to five storeys, to align with the Local Area Plan, and a reduction in the number of units from 82 homes to 72 homes, through the elimination of 10 studio units
- Modifications to the main floor and sidewalk along Gorge Road to include a commercial space at grade which will be operated as a coffee outlet – one that our tenants and the surrounding neighbours will appreciate
- Increase of one parking space in the underground parking. With the reduction of units, we are requesting a variance for one visitor parking space.
Our allocation of parking is as follows:
- Affordable dwelling units – 19 spaces (19 required)
- Staff — 1 space (none required)
- Visitor — 5 spaces (7 required)
- Total Car Parking — 25 spaces (26 required)
- Resident Bicycle Parking — 84 spaces (76 required)
- Visitor Bicycle Parking — 12 spaces (7 required)
- Retention of a balanced mix of tenants able to pay rents at a range of income levels, including:
- 30 units at income assistance rates ($375/month) with support services available on site
- 8 units at affordable rental rates ($750/month)
- 34 units at moderate income rental rates (ranging from $850 – $1500/month)
Other important features of the redevelopment:
- The property will have a single, controlled entrance (rather than 21 entrances), calming the area
- The neighbourhood amenities include a coffee shop and improved landscaping
- A mix of tenants in the building that will provide benefits to both the building ambience and for the neighbourhood
- 51 units of affordable housing will be added to the neighbourhood.
We acknowledge this unit mix differs from the proposed mix as set out by the Regional Housing First program; however, this project presents a unique challenge for us as housing providers, as our premise for the redevelopment has always been guided by the need to replace the 21 income assistance units we’ll lose as part of the demolition and then create more supply in the redeveloped building. The project was approved on this basis.
We know that our immediate neighbours and other community members have questions and concerns about how Cool Aid plans to manage and operate the building and any issues that may arise. To help respond to those concerns and increase confidence in our proposed approach, we have prepared an Operating Management Plan that outlines our vision and commitments for operating this new affordable rental housing in the Burnside Gorge community. We are sharing this document with you here and are open to hearing your thoughts.
We invite you to review our revised plans, and welcome your thoughts and feedback.
This revised proposal represents a compromise solution that:
- meets our goals of renewing an asset which has reached the end of its useful life
- increases the supply of much needed new affordable rental housing in Victoria, and
- acknowledges and addresses the needs of our neighbours and the surrounding community.
Cool Aid will be a part of the Burnside Gorge community for many years to come. Contributing positively to the community, developing long-term relationships, and being a good neighbour is very important to us. We’re committed to doing the ongoing work with our neighbours to achieve these goals.
Cool Aid is in the process of resubmitting these revised plans to the City and will provide updates on our timeline and process as we move forward.
Stay tuned for opportunities to learn more and discuss the proposed redevelopment with Cool Aid staff.
See more architectural drawings on Cool Aid’s Facebook gallery.