The Urban Village site was originally intended for the new Big House, but that project has been moved to the Tsulquate Reserve. (Zoe Ducklow|Gazette)

The Urban Village site was originally intended for the new Big House, but that project has been moved to the Tsulquate Reserve. (Zoe Ducklow|Gazette)

Development permit approved for Urban Village affordable housing in Port Hardy

Qwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nations hope to see ground broken by spring 2021

Port Hardy council has given the go-ahead to Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nations’ housing project on Park Drive, called Urban Village, to be built across the bridge from the Tsulquate reserve.

Council approved a development permit in the Dec. 8 meeting, saying yes to the 27-unit affordable housing project.

Terry Dunn, Capital Project Specialist with Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw said the next step is to submit a detailed budget to BC Housing, a collaborating partner on the project. The building permit application will be submitted to the District of Port Hardy in January 2021.

The Urban Village is a three-phase project; phase one will have three buildings each with nine units for a total of 27. Phase two is the same size, and phase three will have double that. At this time only phase one has been approved for development. Units are a mix of one, two and three-bedroom suites, with a certain number of accessible units for people with disabilities.

There are still plenty of details to be worked out, such a potential cost-sharing structure for a lifting station that’s needed to get sewage to the water treatment plant.

With COVID-19 impacting timelines, Dunn can’t be sure when ground will be broken, but he says they’re pushing hard to have shovels in the ground as early as spring 2021.

Port Hardy is in dire need of more affordable rental housing. This project will be subsidized housing, meaning rent will be a percentage of income, rather than market rates. Though Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw will own the units, it will follow BC Housing has guidelines for subsidized housing. The Urban Village will be open to the public.

READ MORE: Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nation drafts first phase of passive housing project

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