Construction of the downtown housing project on First Avenue hasn’t even started, but it’s already growing.
Located at 805/855 First Avenue (the previous location of NR Motors), the site was initially going to be designed to accommodate 100 units, but is currently being designed to comprise 150 units to ensure the facilities can accommodate the needs of a city the size of Prince George, according to the province.
“Council is grateful to the province, BC Housing and Northern Health for their ongoing partnership with the City of Prince George,” said Mayor Lyn Hall. “The commitment of an additional 50 units of modular housing will further enhance our collective efforts to ensure vulnerable residents with complex needs are able to access supported housing and critical health care services. The 1st Avenue project is the result of much hard work and collaboration and we look forward to seeing it develop and benefit our residents.”
The first project will involve 50 urgently needed, purpose-built supportive homes for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This supportive housing will include 24/7 support services such as meal programs, life and employment skills training, and health and wellness supports. An experienced non-profit operator will be selected to manage the building and day-to-day operations. Construction of these 50 new supportive homes is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2021 and open early in 2022.
“We are working with the City and community partners to make sure vulnerable people have access to safe and supportive homes,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “When people are housed, they can access things like health care and skills training to help rebuild their lives, and the benefit of that opportunity extends across the community.”
The second project will consist of two buildings that will provide up to 100 affordable, energy-efficient homes with supports and services to help people recover and stay healthy. The concept includes ground-floor healthcare space in each building that would be accessible to both residents and the public. Northern Health, in partnership with other health service agencies, will be responsible for overseeing these spaces and providing primary care, harm reduction, and specialized mental health and substance-use services. This innovative project addresses recommendations in Northern Health’s 2017 downtown health services plan.
In order to ensure the fastest possible delivery of these homes, the project would be built using modular construction. A development permit application has been submitted to the city. If approved, construction of the 50-unit project is anticipated to begin in spring 2021. The rezoning process was previously completed.
The city paid $1.5 million for the land for the project’s first phase.