A development permit has been issued for new permanent supportive housing units, so the city expects the community services building on Prideaux Street to be vacated by summer’s end.
Nanaimo city council, at a meeting July 5, voted to issued a development permit and sign a housing agreement in regards to 285 Prideaux St., where the 7-10 Club is located. The city had previously announced the address as one of several locations identified in an agreement with B.C. Housing for permanent supportive units, and had gone on to agree to lease the property to B.C. Housing for 60 years.
This month, council reviewed development plans and agreed to a handful of variances, relaxing requirements around height limits, landscape buffers and parking.
“Staff support the variances and recognize that the design is respectful of public view corridors, down Fitzwilliam Street in particular,” said Lainya Rowett, manager of current planning.
Coun. Sheryl Armstrong was the only councillor to vote against the application because of the variance from 10 parking spaces to six.
Coun. Tyler Brown indicated he’s more concerned about people having homes than cars having parking spots, and Coun. Erin Hemmens had a similar view.
“I understand the parking issue, but I think the potential of turning down 51 supportive housing units that is part of a memorandum of understanding that we’ve signed for the sake of four parking spaces would not be in our community’s best interests,” Hemmens said.
Coun. Don Bonner asked about the potential for public art on the building and architect Chad Zyla said the applicant believed the building didn’t need it, but wasn’t necessarily opposed. Bonner’s motion to look into public art at the property in 2022 passed 6-3, with councillors Armstrong, Jim Turley and Ian Thorpe opposed.
After the meeting, Dale Lindsay, general manager of development services, told the News Bulletin that the community services building’s tenants had “plenty of notice” that they would need to vacate. He said the city connected all tenants with real estate agents, waived rents since last year, and co-operated with B.C. Housing to cover moving expenses. Tenants are expected to be out of the building by Sept. 1.
Lindsay said the city expects to receive an application for a demolition permit for the property this fall, a building permit before then, and said the building could be constructed by “early to middle of next year.” The John Howard Society will operate the building, classified as a personal care facility with supportive housing units.
The 7-10 Club could not be reached for comment.