Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens is located on Russell Place in Port Alberni. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

City of Port Alberni approves five-storey expansion at Tsawaayuus-Rainbow Gardens

Neighbours voice concern about traffic, loss of green space in wake of decision

Tsawaayuus (Rainbow Gardens) Care Facility in Port Alberni will be expanding again, despite concern from neighbours.

Port Alberni City Council agreed on Monday, Feb. 24 to issue a development variance permit to Westcoast Native Health Care Society. This permit will allow the society to construct a new, five-storey apartment building with 39 units of housing for low- to moderate-income seniors.

John Jessop, the project manager for Westcoast Native Health Care Society, said on Monday that the society originally planned to build a three-storey structure, but a geotechnical investigation looked at the load-bearing capacity of the site on Russell Place and discovered that there is only “a limited area” where construction can take place. Jessop said the plan is to reduce the footprint of the building and increase the height in order to keep the same number of units.

“We’re kind of forced into a difficult situation,” he said.

This would be the third expansion for Tsawaayuus (Rainbow Gardens). The first two saw new long-term care beds and independent living units open in late 2019.

READ MORE: Tsawaayuus-Rainbow Gardens opens first of two expansions in Port Alberni

Multiple neighbours spoke in opposition to this project on Monday, saying they have been impacted by the construction and the loss of green space. Others expressed concern about parking and traffic in the neighbourhood.

The new development will include one parking stall for every three units—a total of 13 parking spots—as well as eight extra stalls.

Councillor Debbie Haggard proposed bringing the neighbourhood concerns to a future Traffic Advisory Committee meeting in order to find some solutions.

“I don’t want to turn down 39 units of affordable seniors housing for things that we can work with and have solutions to,” she said.

Cindy Solda, the acting mayor on Monday, also expressed her support for the development.

“When I see seniors who cannot afford the rents that are out there nowadays…I have issues with that,” she said. “There’s a lot of seniors…that have no place to go. We have a housing crisis in Port Alberni. We want to move forward and help these people.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Port Alberni

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Daytripping: From Port Alberni to Ucluelet, visit the ‘wild west’

Whether you’re looking to stroll, sip, sup or stay, Ucluelet has something for you

Port Alberni Food Hub opens to seafood processors

Four ‘anchor’ tenants welcomed

Port Alberni City Council mulls request to buy big screen for AV Multiplex

$200K request comes on heels of RFP for renaming rights to AV Multiplex

Alberni Farmers Institute offers slaughter training course

Alberni Valley residents interested in obtaining a Class D Slaughter License can take part

Spill response vessel arrives in Port Alberni

Base isn’t finished, but team is ready for emergencies

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

Man arrested for allegedly pushing unsuspecting seniors, jumping on cars at Parksville mall

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

Beloved Island woman dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in Chemainus in two short years

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

Most Read