More rental units could be coming to Port Alberni.
Port Alberni city council gave their support for a proposed development on Eighth Avenue during a council meeting on Monday, July 8.
Raymond de Beeld is applying to redevelop Woodland Village, located in the 4200-block of Eighth Avenue, and turn the existing buildings into condominiums. The current buildings are from 1977, and there are “increasing concerns about maintenance,” according to city planner Katelyn McDougall.
De Beeld is applying to rezone the properties, which currently consist of seven two-storey buildings with a total of 38 units. The proposed new development would include four five-storey buildings, with a mix of underground and surface parking, and a total of 150 units.
“I think it will be a benefit to the area, increasing the total number of units in the community,” McDougall summarized on Monday.
De Beeld is the architect who designed the Uchucklesaht Cultural Centre and Thunderbird Apartments on Argyle Street at Kingsway Avenue. In early 2018, he also proposed a new development at the former Fairway Market site on 10th Avenue, but eventually decided against this.
McDougall noted on Monday that current tenants of Woodland Village will be given four months’ notice and one month free rent before construction begins. Current tenants will also have first right of refusal to reoccupy the building at less than market value once new units are constructed.
Mayor Sharie Minions pointed out that tenancy was discussed during the city’s Advisory Planning Commission meeting on June 27. The building currently has some vacant space, and the construction will take place in a phased approach, which will allow for rehousing of some current tenants into empty units.
Minions added that she thinks the application is “exciting” for the community.
“I think this is the first time that we’ve had an application for somebody who wants to tear down existing older residential and build new,” she said. “I think that really speaks to where the community is going and the strength in our development market right now.”
Councillor Debbie Haggard said she was glad to hear there will be more rental units on the market in Port Alberni.
“There’s such a shortage and such a need, so I’m very happy,” she added.
A public hearing for this application will take place Monday, Aug. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers.