PARKING AND TRAFFIC
How will the project impact traffic once the building is occupied?
Our intent is for the project to have minimal impact on traffic once the building is occupied. According to the recommendations from our Traffic Report by Bunt & Associates, we plan to provide parking spaces for 68 tenants. We also anticipate that our location next to Phibbs Exchange will provide many tenants with an opportunity to use public transit.
How much dedicated parking will there be for tenants?
Once the building design is closer to construction and the number of units and unit mix is closer to being finalized, the number of dedicated parking stalls will follow the recommendations of the consultant, Bunt & Associates. The parking stalls will be designed within the 1-storey parking allowance.
Will there be car share or other public transit incentives?
Yes – we are looking at options such as car share, and will also be working with Translink to facilitate tenants’ use of transit.
Will the development result in increased street parking in the area?
With the number of parking stalls dedicated to the building, we do not think there will be a significant impact on street parking
Is the parking lot at Phibbs Exchange closing because of this project?
The parking lot at Phibbs Exchange may be closing in the future, but not because of this project. The parking lot belongs to the District of North Vancouver and the District can provide more information about the future plans for the parking lot.
Will the parking lot open after the Orwell project completes?
The closure of the parking lot is not related to the project, and we have no information about the future of the parking lot. The parking lot belongs to the District of North Vancouver and the District can provide more information on the future plans for the parking lot at Phibbs Exchange.
Where can I park at Phibbs Exchange?
This is a question we are, unfortunately, unable to respond to. The District of North Vancouver might have suggestions on where residents can park at Phibbs Exchange.
Is there a Park and Ride planned for Phibbs Exchange?
The Orwell project team has no information on whether there is a plan for a Park and Ride at Phibbs Exchange. The District of North Vancouver might be able to provide more information on this.
When will construction start and how long will it last?
It is anticipated that the construction will start in 18-24 months depending on the municipal approval process. The construction would last around 20 months.
What is the traffic management plan during construction?
A traffic management plan will be developed in alignment with the District of North Vancouver’s stringent standards closer to the start of construction. A plan cannot be developed at this early stage as there are numerous active projects in the area and things will change as those projects near completion.
Where will construction vehicles park?
A requirement of the District of North Vancouver’s traffic management plan is to locate parking for tradespeople during construction. At this early stage (18-24 months prior to construction), we do not have a specific plan developed yet, but it is anticipated that we will take over the trades parking from the project to the west of our site once that project completes.
Why is the project planned at the same time as the other construction projects in the area, including not just buildings, but also Phibbs Exchange, highway etc.?
The project’s timeline is behind the other residential projects in the area and will most likely start after the care home and rental building to the west are complete. The Phibbs will likely start the construction prior to this project’s start. District of North Vancouver and/or Ministry of Transportation would have more details on the timelines of other projects in the area.
How will construction be managed with all the other projects in the area?
Due to the civic and development timelines of 18-24 months, it is anticipated that many of the other residential projects in the area will be complete by then. There will also be a management plan for all construction sites in the area as per District of North Vancouver’s requirements. Further details will be coordinated when the project is 12 months or so before construction.
AFFORDABILITY / FUNDING
How is the project being funded?
The District of North Vancouver has provided the land at a nominal cost. BC Housing is providing grants, is financing the construction of the project, and will provide ongoing operating subsidy after the building opens.
Does the BC Housing funding come with conditions, and if so what are they?
Yes, the project is being funded under the BC Housing’s Community Housing Fund (CHF) initiative. This funding program sets the mix of rent / income levels requirements for tenants, along with eligibility criteria that focus on housing seniors and families.
Is this considered affordable housing?
Yes; Orwell Non-Market Housing project is considered to be affordable housing because all units would be rented at below-market rents, some units would be far below market rents (for people currently receiving social assistance), some units would be for working low-to-moderate income earners, and some units would be for moderate income earners.
How do you define "affordable"?
According to BC Housing Community Housing Fund (CHF) program, affordability is defined as the follows: 20 percent of units will be for people on social assistance, at “shelter rates”; 50 percent of units will be rent-geared to income, with tenants paying 30 percent of their gross household income on rent; 30 percent of units will be rented at affordable market rents, which are set by BC Housing to be no more than average market rent in the area.
What is the difference between social and affordable housing?
In general, social housing has a subsidy provided by some level of government that makes it possible to offer rents at lower than market rates. Affordable housing is usually not subsidized but offers rents at some percentage below prevailing market rates. As for this project, all units will be subsidized for their ongoing operating costs.
How is this project different from recent affordable housing proposals in the District of North Vancouver?
This project has funding from BC Housing’s Community Housing Fund (CHF), which means it will be providing affordable rents for the lifespan of the project. The subsidy provided by BC Housing deepens affordability, meaning that we can provide a range of rent levels for a variety of tenants and make the North Shore more accessible to people who would otherwise need to leave their community.
How much would the rent be?
20 percent of units will rent at shelter rates as defined by BC social assistance. For singles, this is $375 per month; for couples and single parents, it is $570 per month, and for two-parent families, it is $660 per month. 50 percent of units will be rent-geared-to-income – for people earning up to the Housing Income Limits (HILs), which are set each year based on figures established by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). For 2019, the HILs limits are $51,500 for one-bedroom units, $63,000 for two-bedroom units and $73,500 for three-bedroom units. Tenants whose income is under these limits will pay 30 percent of their gross household income as rent. For example, a family of three in a two-bedroom apartment with a total gross income of $60,000 per year will pay the rent of $1,500 per month.
30 percent of units will be for people making more than the HIL limits, but less than the income caps set by BC Housing. For 2018, these caps were $71,200 for one-bedroom units, or $104, 440 for two- or more- bedroom units. People in this income range will pay flat rents set by BC Housing.
It is important to note that these rates are adjusted each year, and the 2019 figures will be different than when the building opens.
How is rent calculated?
The rent is calculated based on the gross household income of all working adult family members and will fall into one of the three categories as outlined in the question above.
What does “shelter rate” mean?
“Shelter rate” refers to the amount of social assistance payment provided by the Government of BC for shelter (rent). At present, this is $375/month for singles, $570/month for couples and single-parent families, and $660/month for two-parent families.
Are there any shelter-rate supportive housing units currently in the District of North Vancouver?
The health authority runs a number of housing programs and there may be others. It is important to note that the Orwell project is NOT a supported housing project.
How do Orwell rents compare to general rents in the District of North Vancouver?
Orwell Non-Market Housing project will be an affordable housing project, which means that rents will be lower than market rents. In some cases, rents will be much lower. Please see more above on how the rents will be calculated.
Whose income is used to calculate the household income?
The calculation of the gross household income includes anyone in the household over 19 years of age who earns an income.
Is income considered on a Metro Vancouver scale or a North Vancouver scale? And why so?
BC Housing uses the data from geographical areas throughout the province to set its income rates. The North Shore is included in the Vancouver geographical area.
What is included in the rent?
For all tenants, the rent will include hot water, storage (in-suite), and bicycle storage. For tenants receiving income assistance from the Government of BC and paying shelter rates, the rent will also include their BC Hydro costs. For most tenants, the rent does not include the BC Hydro costs. The rent does not include the cost of cable, phone or internet, and parking for any tenants.
What are the additional costs of living in the building - parking, utilities, etc.?
There will be a monthly parking fee for tenants who wish to park in the building. Electricity costs will vary from tenant to tenant, depending on their unit size and tenant habits. We expect a range of about $40 to $80 per month. Utilities such as cable/phone/ internet will be entirely up to the tenant and their needs.
What happens if a tenant’s income increases?
Incomes for all tenants will be tested at their move-in time to determine their eligibility and rent rates. Tenants in the low-income and Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) units will have their income tested annually thereafter. If their income increases, but is still within the allowable range of incomes, their rent will be adjusted accordingly. If their income increases to the extent that they earn enough to be considered in the “moderate income range”, again, their rent will be adjusted to reflect that.
WHO WOULD BE THE TENANTS?
Who will benefit from the project?
A wide range of people will benefit from this project: singles, couples, families, seniors, etc. with a range of incomes. Most future tenants will probably be working, some will probably be retired, some in school, etc.
Who is eligible to live in the building?
People whose income falls within the income limits set by BC Housing, and who live, work or have close ties to the North Shore will be eligible.
What is the vetting process for tenants and who decides on who will live in the building?
Prospective tenants will first register for housing on BC Housing’s Housing Registry. They will indicate that they are interested in the Orwell building. Hollyburn Family Services Society will select 20 tenants for the shelter rate units (singles, couples or families) from their clients. The remainder will self-register with BC Housing. Sanford Affordable Housing will be responsible for ensuring tenants meet all eligibility requirements and for determining rents. Sanford will screen and interview prospective tenants, perform income testing and reference checks, and will make the final selection of tenants.
What kinds of people will move in?
All kinds of people may move into the building – most will be working people, many with families of varying ages. Some will be retired or semi-retired. Some may have disabilities. Please see below for further details.
Will seniors be living in the building?
Yes, we are expecting that some seniors will apply and be selected to live in the building.
Will homeless people be living in the building?
No; this is not a supported housing project that is meant to directly address homelessness. Generally, people coming out of homelessness require supports and services to reconnect them with the community, so are better served in supported environments. We do believe that this project may help prevent people from ever becoming homeless.
Will residents be coming from outside North Vancouver?
We are looking to prioritize people who currently live on the North Shore and / or who currently work on the North Shore. People who have other close ties to the North Shore may also be considered – for example, someone with family on the North Shore, or someone who left the North Shore to find affordable housing but wants to come back.
Do potential tenants need to have some connection to North Vancouver?
Yes. We will be prioritizing potential tenants based on their connection to North Vancouver. This is also an area where we will be seeking community input.
Will the building bring crime and drug use into the area?
There is no reason to expect that this building would bring crime and drug use into the area. It is a regular apartment building, with singles, families, seniors who are already living and working in the community.
How many units will be wheelchair accessible?
As we finalize the design, we will be able to share the final number of planned wheelchair-accessible units.
What schools will the children attend?
Lynnmour Elementary and Windsor Secondary are the schools for this catchment area.
Is it safe for children to walk to school?
Both schools would require taking public transit or driving.
*Design is still subject to change as the engagement, application and approvals process have not been completed.
How many units are planned for the building?
The plan is to build 90 units.
How many storeys?
The plan is to build a 6-storey building.
Would the building construction be wood or concrete and why?
The plan is to build a wood-frame building. Wood-frame construction is very common for buildings up to 6-storeys, and wood-frame construction is more economical.
What would be the mix of unit sizes?
The current design proposes around 45 one-bedroom units and 45 two-bedroom and three-bedroom units. We believe this is an optimal mix of units of varying sizes to address the needs of a wide range of community members in need of housing.
How did you decide on the mix of units?
The mix of units that we currently have in the design optimizes the use of space, provides a range of options for different situations, and allows for a wider variety of tenants – in terms of their age, family composition, etc.
Why aren’t there more units for families?
50% of units (2 and 3 BR) are for families. We need to ensure liveability in all units, including light and space, and at the same time optimize the number of units we can provide.
Why aren’t there any four-bedroom units?
Sanford Affordable Housing Society (SAHS) has developed 23 housing projects in the Lower Mainland providing more than 500 units of housing with varied levels of support. Our experience tells us that there is generally less demand for four-bedroom units. Also, four-bedroom units require more space, and by incorporating four-bedroom units into the design, we would need to reduce the overall total number of units. This would also mean that we would be able to serve less families/individuals in need.
Can the project be bigger (have more units) on that site?
No; the project proposal design is at its maximum size in order for the building to fit well into the neighbourhood and on the lot.
What environmental / green building practices will be used?
The building is design to Step Code 3 as per BC Housing guidelines, which means that the building needs to be 20% beyond Code with regards to its energy efficiency. In addition to this, once the building is operational, the tenants will be encouraged to use public transit, will have access to green space on site, and will have access to a bicycle stall.
Will you have to cut down trees? How many?
Yes; the lot is currently overgrown and will need to be cleared to enable construction.
What will be the quality of construction / building?
The building will be well constructed and to Step Code 3 specifications (20% above Code in terms of energy efficiency), with a preference for simple systems in order to provide ease of maintenance.
What amenities (indoor and outdoor) are planned?
There is a plan for an outdoor space between this project building and the building next door (Adera). The outdoor space is planned to include some landscaping and a play area. Indoor amenity space would be on the ground floor, and it would have indoor / outdoor access.
What community amenities are planned?
While there are no specific new community amenity spaces associated with the building, we believe the building itself will help enliven the neighbourhood and enhance the visual experience for people living, cycling and walking in the area.
This is a non-market housing and not-for-profit project, with the goal of keeping the costs and future tenant rents as low as possible. Adding a community amenity to the project would increase the overall costs of the project and would eventually result in higher tenant rents.
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