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West Van moves forward with Gordon Ave affordable housing

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Four years after the first vote on the project, West Vancouver district council is pushing forward with its affordable housing project on Gordon Avenue.

Voting unanimously in favour on Monday night (May 9) in a largely procedural vote, council decided to publish a notice of disposition, moving forward with its long-term leases of two parcels of land at 2195 Gordon Ave. (also known as 990 22nd St.) to Kiwanis North Shore Housing Society and Darwin Properties.

The project, which initially came to council in 2018, is a mixed below-market rental and strata condo development consisting of 50 strata condos in an eight-storey tower at the southern portion of the land and 167 below-market rentals and seniors day facility in two six-storey buildings on the northern portion.

The below-market rentals will be offered at an average of 70 per cent of market rates, which will put them in reach of households earning $50,000 to $120,000 per year.

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Using the money from the sale of the former West Vancouver police station on Marine Drive to Grosvenor, council purchased the Gordon Avenue land from Vancouver Coastal Health in 2014 for $16.4 million. With the selling price of $22.195 million of the 99-year lease to Darwin Properties, and a nominal $1 fee from Kiwanis, the district will make a net profit of $6.195 million dollars, whilst keeping overall ownership of the land.

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The adult day centre will be run by Vancouver Coastal Health and Kiwanis, and will provide respite to adults and caregivers in the area.

In discussing the project, Coun. Bill Soprovich said it’s a wonderful initiative that has come about due to the “manoeuvring of money” by the district.

“What we’re looking at here is a chance to provide some wonderful housing for people that need it,” he said, adding Kiwanis will handle the proposal “very well,” and it will benefit people who most need it.

Coun. Marcus Wong said the project “hits” all of the official community plan points, including point 2.1.21, which speaks to increasing the availability of diverse and affordable housing.

“I believe that it’ll provide much needed housing options in our community for people of all different incomes,” Wong said. “I think of myself, [public speaker] Mr. Schultz, who spoke so eloquently tonight … and young people like us, if I might say, we need a place to live. My $54,000 councillor salary doesn’t get very far in West Vancouver.”

The project will come back to council on June 13, where council will consider public comments and input regarding awarding Kiwanis Housing Society and Darwin Properties the long-term leases.

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