Queensborough housing for women finally getting underway

Chris Campbell

It was just under a year ago that New Westminster city council approved a modular housing project for women who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

This was what some would called a “controversial” project, if you think people acting scared at a public hearing should make a project “controversial.”

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I don’t want this project to be thought of this way. Modular housing projects have been going up all across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley because we are in a housing crisis. Too many people either live on the streets or are damn close to doing so. These projects are aimed at helping these folks.

Council said yes to a 44-unit modular housing project at 838 Ewen Ave., which will be located on city-owned land, with BC Housing providing 100 per cent of the capital and operating funds and the Elizabeth Fry Society operating the facility that will include on-site support services.

And, as I said, it’s geared specifically for women.

About 100 people spoke at a six-hour public hearing. Some were supportive, but there was also a lot of fear-mongering coming from nearby residents who said it was the “wrong location.”

But it was approved, thankfully.

Now, a year later, what gives? Why hasn’t it been started yet?

I asked the City of New Westminster and found out that the project be getting underway in July.

BC Housing’s contractor, Atco, has manufactured the modular units, which are currently being stored in Alberta.

Things did get delayed, according to the city, due to issues surrounding foundation work.

“Given new groundwater data, the foundation had to be redesigned, which has had a direct impact on the construction timeline,” said an email from the city.

The start-up date for construction is now scheduled to commence in July 2019, with project completion now scheduled for December 2019 or January 2020. Work will also be commencing on the construction of Carter Road, which will entail construction staging adjacent to 838 Ewen Ave.

That’s the beauty of modular housing. It can be assembled far quicker and cheaper than most traditional builds.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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