Construction has begun on a new affordable housing project at 9194 Edward St. in Chilliwack, seen here on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Construction has begun on a new affordable housing project at 9194 Edward St. in Chilliwack, seen here on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

New 28-unit affordable housing project under construction on Edward Street

Rents at The Locale in Chilliwack will be going for at least 10 per cent below market rates

Construction is starting soon on an affordable housing project at 9194 Edward Street in Chilliwack.

Site prep is underway for the 28-unit building that will be known as The Locale.

The new building by Karvin Developments is being constructed with $5 million in financing from CMHC’s Rental Construction Financing initiative (RCFi), with rents going for at least 10 per cent below market rates.

“With a 2020 vacancy rate of 1.5 per cent, The Locale is a four-storey multi-residential building that will provide Chilliwack with 28-units of much needed rental housing,” according to the CMHC news release.

Project rendering of The Locale, a 28-unit building by Karvin Developments coming to Edward Street in Chilliwack. (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

Project rendering of The Locale, a 28-unit building by Karvin Developments coming to Edward Street in Chilliwack. (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

Some of the smaller units will be under 612 square feet, which allowed the developer to qualify for reduced development cost charge (DCC) rates.

Renting at unit in The Locale will be at least 10 per cent below market rates for the area.

“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home,” said Ahmed Hussen, the minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in the Jan. 29 release.

The RCFi project falls under the National Housing Strategy program, delivered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) specifically to support projects contributing to “a stable supply of rental housing for middle-class families in expensive housing markets.”

At least six of the 28 units will maintain rents “at or below 70 per cent of 30 per cent of the median household income in Chilliwack” for a minimum of 21 years.

Average rents in Chilliwack for a bachelor and one-bedroom apartment in 2020 were listed at $760 and $855, according to ‘Primary Rental Market Statistics – Chilliwack’ according to a CMHC rental market survey, but the vacancy rate is well under two per cent.

The developer is Karvin Developments Ltd., a well-established local builder with more than 30 years construction experience.

“We are extremely thankful for the opportunity given to us through the federal government’s RCFi program, said John Vander Hoek, director, Karvin Developments. “It gives the Karvin Team great pleasure providing much needed affordable rental housing in such a great location within our own community.”

Affordable housing is extremely scarce in communities across the Lower Mainland region.

“Chilliwack is no exception,” said Mayor Ken Popove. “One of the ways we work to create more affordable housing in Chilliwack is through a reduced development cost charge rate for small unit apartments.

City of Chilliwack’s role in this project was to approve zoning, variances and the development permit for apartment development. Incentive for builders is provided through the reduced DCCs for small apartment units (under 612 sq. ft).

Construction has begun on a new affordable housing project at 9194 Edward St. in Chilliwack, seen here on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Construction has begun on a new affordable housing project at 9194 Edward St. in Chilliwack, seen here on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Sixteen of the 28 units for this project qualified for Chilliwack’s small-unit apartment DCC rate.

“We are pleased that the federal government and CMHC recognize this need in our community and are glad to see developers utilizing programs like RCFi to make affordable housing projects in Chilliwack a reality,” Popove added.

According to CHMC definitions housing is considered “affordable” when it costs less than 30 per cent of a household’s gross income.

“Many people think the term ‘affordable housing’ refers only to rental housing that is subsidized by the government. In reality, it’s a very broad term that can include housing provided by the private, public and non-profit sectors. It also includes all forms of housing tenure : rental, ownership and co-operative ownership, as well as temporary and permanent housing,” according to CMHC’s About Affordable Housing in Canada web page.

The contractor broke ground on the project earlier this month and substantial completion is expected February 2022.

READ MORE: Plans revealed for mixed use development at old Paramount site

READ MORE: Rental housing project for middle-income earners on Webb

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


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