More than 100 new units of housing for seniors will be coming to the former Alberni District Secondary School grounds.
Port Alberni city council approved a development permit for a project called “Timberline at North Park” on Monday, May 10. Vancouver Resource Society is proposing a five-storey building with 102 dwelling units at the end of Anderson Avenue, behind the Portview Landing apartments. The units will be a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments.
The development will also include a one-and-a-half storey common space or “clubhouse” for residents, with amenities like a games room, lounge and kitchen.
Members of the Vancouver Resource Society first came to council in September 2020 to present their plans for the housing complex. At that time, directors explained that the clubhouse model will allow seniors to age in place.
The building will be operated by the Vancouver Resource Society, which operates a number of seniors communities and affordable housing projects across the province.
“In general, the overall design and landscaping do reflect a really modern, high-quality development,” said Port Alberni development planner Brian McLoughlin.
Councillor Debbie Haggard pointed out that the city’s recent housing needs assessment identified that there are many seniors living in three- or four-bedroom homes because they have nowhere else to go.
“This will give them more opportunity to move into nice apartments,” she said. “And that will open up some housing for that missing middle piece for young families that we so desperately need in our community.”
The clubhouse model will also provide some social interaction for seniors, Haggard added.
“Loneliness is one of the biggest factors in the health of seniors,” she said.
One resident of Anderson Avenue wrote a letter to council, expressing concern about the high volume of traffic and parking challenges on the street.
The developers have planned for 85 parking stalls, which McLoughlin says is “significantly more” than the 45 stalls required by the city’s zoning bylaws.
Director of development services Scott Smith also pointed out that the city will be making “continued improvements” to Anderson Avenue as more developments are approved.