Crowd of about 70 gather Jan. 8 to learn more on the Smithers supportive housing project on Railway Avenue. (Chris Gareau photo)

Smithers supportive housing closer to reality

Smithers 24-unit supportive housing project gets zoning approval from council.

Read the full story in the Jan. 17 edition of The Interior News.

Smithers council made two crucial approvals Tuesday for the planned 24-unit supportive housing project on Railway Avenue.

The housing complex is meant for homeless people and would include the Broadway Shelter, 24-hour staffing and support funded by the Province, and include needs assessments and case plans for each tenant. BC Housing would lease the property from the Town of Smithers, and Smithers Community Services Association would serve as a landlord and provide support services to residents.

The total cost has not been calculated, according to BC Housing representatives who attended a Monday open house. Monday’s open house saw about 70 people hear from homeless women from Smithers, a representative from Medicine Hat where the community has taken on the challenge of eliminating homelessness, and more.

Council approval

Council unanimously passed adoption of a change to the official community plan and the creation of a new Comprehensive Development Zone. The zone only applies to the property at 3896 Railway Avenue, located at the corner of Queen Street.

Regulations in the zone include a maximum height of the lesser of three storeys or 12 metres, up to 85 per cent of the parcel being covered by the building and other structures which includes a maximum of one auxiliary building up to 4.9 metres tall, and one parking spot at least for every three units.

The B.C. government put out a media release saying it is investing $291 million to build 2,000 modular-housing units across the province and more than $170 million over three years to provide staffing and support services for the residents.

Seven other B.C. communities have included modular housing as part of a solution to help address homelessness, according to the Province. More than 1,000 modular-housing units are confirmed in communities throughout B.C., taking the Province past the halfway mark toward the goal of 2,000 units for people who are homeless or at risk.

Terrace is getting up to 52 units with close to $8 million allocated, and Prince Rupert is getting 44 units with about $3.6 million allocated.

Smithers council

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Concept design for the Smithers supportive housing project on Railway Avenue. (BC Housing)

Concept design for the Smithers supportive housing project on Railway Avenue. (BC Housing)

Lisa Glaim from Smithers has been living on the street for the last 10 years. She says any housing needs to allow her dogs Hannah (left) and Booboo. (Chris Gareau photo)

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