Kelowna modular housing project for the homeless delayed over visual concerns

Vancouver's first temporary modular housing project taking place in December 2016. It officially opened in February 2017.
Image Credit: (NICK PROCAYLO/PostMedia)

KELOWNA - A decision on a controversial modular housing project for the homeless has been deferred after pressure from area businesses.

Kelowna council was set to make a decision Monday on the appearance of the 55-unit two-storey modular building proposed for a site just off Enterprise Way on Commerce Street.

But B.C. Housing at the last minute pulled its previously submitted design and said it would submit a new one early in the new year.

Divisional director of community planning Doug Gilchrist said the old design was pulled after pressure from businesses in the Mill Creek Commerce Park who said they didn’t mind the location but didn’t like the look of what B.C. Housing was proposing.

“They have taken this opportunity to revisit the design in acknowledgement of the concerns raised by the community,” Gilchrist said.”The intention is to bring back a different design that hopefully the community is more supportive of."

He said the project will go ahead at that location regardless of its final appearance.

“The location is fine. We have heard from them, they don’t have a problem with the location, they acknowledge the need in the community, they just have concerns about appearance,” he added.

Gilchrist said the design changes could mean the housing project will take longer to become available for occupation.

“It depends on what they come back with,” he said. “If it is more comprehensive, it may take longer to build than the previously proposed trailer design.”

Planning staff had already given support for the original plan and had recommended council approve it, before B.C. Housing pulled their design.

The 55-unit modular housing project is part of 2,000 units the province hopes to install in communities around B.C.

A three-storey 40-unit modular building has already been approved for construction in Vernon while heated protests greeted plans for a 78-unit modular housing complex proposed for the Marpole area of South Vancouver.

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