The need for more affordable housing in Vernon is the main reason City council is keeping a proposed project moving forward.
Council has approved parking and setback variances for a four story, 38 unit rental apartment in the 55-hundred block of 27th Avenue, despite objections from neighbors.
The Vernon Native Housing Society is hoping to get provincial funding for it.
A resident from the nearby Gracelands development outlined a number of concerns to council, including the height.
“From September to March, my entire back yard (will be) in shadow. Now isn’t that exciting? I hope no one has seasonal affected disorder or they’ll really be in trouble.”
Another resident from the Gracelands told council, the project lacks enough space for the number of residents.
“What are you doing cramming so many people in such a small space? This is not fair to them or to us, their neighbors.”
Society consultant Jesse Alexander says reducing it to three storys could jeopardize provincial funding.
“We did look into that, going to three storys, and it just simply….We needed the same amount of floor area so it elongated the foot print and eliminated a whole bunch of parking so we would have had a very extreme parking variance.”
Council voted 6-1 in favour of the variances.
“This is a very hard one (decision),” said councillor Dalvir Nahal. “On one side, you have the livelihood of people who have worked their whole lives to buy a property, and on the other hand, you have a need for affordable housing. It’s not the most ideal project, but it’s something that’s needed in our community.”
“This is a huge need for our community. We need this housing,” said Mayor Akbal Mund.
“We hear from people everyday who are just looking for a place to live,” said councillor Juliette Cunningham who said the project will provide affordable three bedrooms rental units which are hard to find.
Scott Anderson was the lone opponent, saying the concerns of the people most impacted, the neighbors, shouldn’t be ignored.
“If the land doesn’t work for the size of the building and the number of units, then it shouldn’t be built there. It’s pushing cars into the street.”