North end land better used for affordable housing, Kelowna councillor says

Demolition continues at the Pleasantvale Homes site in Kelowna.

KELOWNA - City councillor Luke Stack is hoping to convince the provincial government to keep a prime piece of land in Kelowna's north end for affordable housing instead of selling it off to private developers.

Stack is also executive director of the Society of Hope, the local managing partner of the new Pleasantvale development on Ellis Street between Oxford and Cambridge Avenues.

The old Pleasantvale Homes have been a local landmark in the north end since their construction the mid-1950s, housing low-income seniors.

Ownership was transferred in 2011 to B.C. Housing which made the decision to finance development of a 70-unit complex on one half of the site by consolidating the other half as a separate site and selling it at market rates for private development.

The original 50 residents were given first refusal on units in the new Pleasantvale, Stack says, of which 23 accepted the offer.

Crews for the last two weeks have been demolishing the remaining buildings on the site in preparation for sale but Stack is hoping new provincial money aimed at affordable housing could be used to satisfy the debt and leave what’s remaining for more social housing.

“It’s a beautiful site and I’ve suggested keeping it to (B.C. Housing) but at the end of the day, it’s their call. I just know it’s really hard to find a choice building site which already has a history of accommodating affordable housing,” Stack says.

Kelowna is enduring one of the lowest vacancy rates it has ever seen, hovering around 0.5 per cent, and Stack says any new rental units would be welcome.

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