Future affordable housing resident Leanne Fraser, left, smiles beside Graham Morry, executive director for the Nanaimo Association for Community Living, during a groundbreaking ceremony at 3425 Uplands Dr. on July 18. The site will become the home of NACL’s affordable townhouse project, which will provide homes to low-income individuals and people with developmental disabilities. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Affordable housing project for people with disabilities breaks ground in Nanaimo

Uplands Drive project expected to be completed by summer 2020

A Nanaimo housing project offering affordable accommodation, including to people with developmental disabilities, is finally becoming a reality.

Work has begun on a 28-unit townhouse development by the Nanaimo Association for Community Living, which once completed, will provide 12 accessible rental homes to people with developmental disabilities and 14 one-bedroom homes to people with low incomes.

There will also be a group kitchen, dining room, social lounge and a live-in manager’s suite.

The project has an estimated value of $5 million according to the city’s website and construction is expected to be completed by summer 2020. NACL will be managing the affordable housing site, which already has a waiting list for tenants.

On Thursday, a ceremony was held at the Uplands Drive property, where the provincial government announced a $4.9-million contribution toward the project.

Sheila Malcolmson, Nanaimo MLA, told a crowd of roughly 30 people, which included politicians and potential residents, that NACL’s development represents an opportunity for the community.

“It is such an opportunity for Nanaimo and for residents of Nanaimo and especially for people who have had a hard time finding a good place to live in our community,” she said.

Plans for a residential development that could offer affordable housing to those with developmental disabilities were first brought forward by the Nanaimo Association for Community Living back in 2007.

The non-profit organization, which supports people with developmental disabilities, purchased the 6,475-square-metre property in 2012 and after various adjustments to their proposal, the property was rezoned in 2016.

Graham Morry, executive director for the Nanaimo Association for Community Living, told the News Bulletin that after 12 years, he’s pleased to see shovels in the ground.

“There are people and families who have been waiting for a long time for this moment,” he said. “This file has been on my desk weekly for the last 12 years. It has taken a hell of a lot of people to move it forward. A lot of tenacity and a lot of love, really,” he said.

story continues below

NACL has been ready to build for years, according to Morry, who said the reason for the long delay is simply due to a lack of money.

“Everything takes time. We bought the property but zoning takes a long time,” he said. “We were poised and waiting for money. Frankly, we needed money from the government in order to be able to do it. We are financing part of it on our own dime but we needed capital help to make it work.”

In 2016, the previous provincial government, through B.C. Housing, provided the non-profit organization with $2.6 million for the project. Malcolmson told the News Bulletin the money from the province is new money and not funding that was previously announced.

“It is my understanding that although there was money committed under the previous provincial government, it wasn’t sufficient in order for NACL to get the financing that they needed and it wasn’t sufficient to bring the rents down to what we would call an affordable level,” she said, adding that the $4.9 million provided “brings the rents down” to $550 a month for the 12 accessible units.

RELATED: Nanaimo affordable housing organizations receive financial boost

RELATED: New supportive housing model pitched for Nanaimo’s Uplands Drive

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram



Just Posted

QB McGarvey steers V.I. Raiders to first win of 2019 season

Raiders blow out Kamloops Raiders in home opener in Nanaimo

Traffic back to normal after accident at Island Highway-Brechin Road in Nanaimo

Accident involved truck and taxi at turn lane leading to Departure Bay ferry terminal

United Way’s denim drive launches at Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

United by Denim campaign runs from Aug. 17 until Sept. 2

Yacht designer will share dramatic stories from America’s Cup racing

Steve Killing to speak at Nanaimo Yacht Club on Aug. 24 for choir fundraiser

Nanaimo Community Hospice Society to launch mobile unit

Society holding open house on Aug. 28

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 15

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Most Read