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Sea to Sky Community Services (SSCS) is leading a new project to help address the critical shortage of affordable housing in the Village of Pemberton and surrounding areas. Our organization has been working with the community for more than 40 years, providing a range of social services from affordable housing to child care to mental health services.

We are in the initial stages of preparing a proposal to build affordable rental housing on the corner of Harrow Road and Highway 99. The questions and answers below provide some additional information about the proposed project and next steps.

Community Engagement Update

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback during our community engagement phase.  We received more than 600 responses!  Please see below for common questions and our response to them.  You can click on the + to expand the question.  

I’m worried there won’t be sufficient parking for future residents and visitors and the possibility of overflow parking in the neighbourhood. What are you doing to manage parking?

An independent traffic engineer has provided parking recommendations specific to the building use and tenure. Their recommendation takes into considerations the proximity of the building to amenities and the target population for the units. SSCS is providing 4 more stalls than the engineer’s recommendation.  Additionally, commercial stalls will be shared with visitors in an effort to keep cars off the streets.

Lastly, not all SSCS clients drive. We offer the Better at Home program for seniors and those with disabilities who cannot drive.

I live on Balsam. I would like to know what the building will look like from my house.
We take this concern seriously and want residents of the neighbourhood to continue to enjoy the view from their homes.  The building and parking lot have been shifted to the south and the landscaped buffer along the north edge of the site has been expanded. Here are some updated renderings of the building that may provide some additional context regarding the view.

Harrow Road Proposed Affordable Housing RenderingsHarrow Road Affordable Housing Project Shadow Study

I’m concerned that this project will increase the risk of flooding in the Glen. How will you manage stormwater and runoff?

The civil engineer has recommended a stormwater retention design which will capture stormwater on site and help redirect runoff from entering the neighbouring properties or from overwhelming city drainage systems in a heavy rain event

There aren’t many transit options in Pemberton. How will pedestrians safely access the town centre from the building?

We are proposing an off-site path along Hwy 99 for pedestrians and cyclists that aligns with the Village’s future transportation infrastructure plans and will make alternate forms of transportation accessible and safe for the community.

How can we ensure the safety of children playing due to the proximity to the highway?

Safety is a top concern.  A fence will be built around the building to provide a barrier between the building and the highway.

How do we know what future developments in phase 2 will look like?

The current Rezoning application does not include a proposed second phase, we are currently seeking approval from the Village for one building. Should we pursue a second phase in the future, a new rezoning application will be submitted to the Village.

 

How do we know what future developments in phase 2 will look like?

The current Rezoning application does not include a proposed second phase, we are currently seeking approval from the Village for one building. Should we pursue a second phase in the future, a new rezoning application will be submitted to the Village.

 

It doesn’t look like there’s sufficient space for fire truck access. Is this safe?

Safety is a top concern. The parking lot has been designed to accommodate fire truck access and exit as per BC Building Code. The rezoning application will also be reviewed by Pemberton Fire Rescue.

I’m concerned about the height of the building. Pemberton’s highest building is only 4 storeys. Why does this building need to be 5 storeys tall?

We understand the concern about building height and we are doing all we can to mitigate the impact the height may have in the community. Because the project is located on the flood plane, a residential building with 4 storeys would have to be built up higher with 2.75 meters of soil under it to meet the flood construction level. By incorporating commercial space on the ground floor, it acts as a flood buffer, and the residential portion can be elevated above the flood construction level without large amounts of soils.  The implementation of another storey used for commercial space (instead of building up the height with soil) means a 5 storey mixed-use building is only 4’ 9” (1.4 meters) taller than a 4 storey residential building (in the same location) and it provides more much-needed affordable housing units to the community (versus a 4 storey mixed-use building).

Could the building be built ‘out’ instead of ‘up’ to minimize building height?

By building up instead of out (wide) we can maximize the number of affordable housing units we can offer. This project is a unique opportunity for the community to add much needed affordable rentals to the housing market. Currently, Pemberton only has 30 non-market rental units and we heard overwhelmingly from respondents that affordable housing is desperately needed in the community. This project will more than triple the number of affordable housing rentals available to families, seniors, and people with disabilities.  By building up, we can also provide ample outdoor space for residents and ensure construction and operating costs are manageable and sustainable.

The proposed location is so far from the town centre. Why build it there?

The proposed site is within a 10-minute walk (800 meters) of the elementary school, community centre, and commercial and retail services. It will be well-connected to these amenities via a multi-use path along Hwy 99 for pedestrians and cyclists that aligns with the Village’s future transportation infrastructure plans. SSCS programs offer some transportation services, and, as a social service agency, will advocate for local and regional transit services. SSCS and the Village of Pemberton searched for a site that is convenient and financially and operationally feasible.  Due to the lack of municipal land, the partners worked together to assess private properties for sale. The property was chosen based on lot size, location, and cost. 

Buildings in the flood plan must mitigate against flood hazards. Why is commercial space allowed on the ground floor?

A flood hazard assessment has been conducted by a qualified professional recommending that commercial (non-habitable) space on the ground floor will be safe if proper design measures are taken, including locating all mechanical and electrical systems on the second or higher storey and foundation construction meets the minimum required level. The building design for this project has incorporated all recommendations and we will be applying for an exemption for the commercial space based on this professional report.

Why is it important for SSCS to relocate their services and program delivery to this space?

SSCS was fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with their previous landlord who offered commercial space at below market prices. Unfortunately, the long-term relationship with the landlord and donor ended in 2021 and the future of the agency’s existing lease is insecure. Pemberton and the surrounding areas are growing in population and the demand for social services is increasing 8% year over year. We need more space to continue to meet the needs of the community and the growing demand.

It’s important to me that this project include some sort of community green space. Is that possible?

We like green space too! We’ve planned to include a green buffer on the north edge of the site and a green space to the south of the building. 

Child care in Pemberton is lacking. Could this project include additional child care services?

We have not yet finalized the ground floor community space for this project, but we understand how important child care is in Pemberton and we have requested child care be a permitted use in our rezoning application. 

It’s important to me that this project include a playground for community use. Is that possible?

Yes! The design already includes a children’s playground to the west of the building.   

General Project FAQs

What is planned on Harrow Road and Highway 99?

Sea to Sky Community Services is working with the Village of Pemberton to bring much needed affordable rental housing to the region. We are in the initial stages of a project proposal and are examining the 3-acre property at the corner of Harrow Road and Highway 99. As part of our due diligence, we are gathering geotechnical and property data to confirm suitability of the proposed site.

What will the proposed development include?

The project is designed to provide affordable non-market rental housing to families, seniors, and persons with disabilities. The proposed development would create approximately 60 housing units for community members, as well as space for social services.

What will the development look like (size, height, etc.)?

The project is in the initial stages and building plans and designs have not been finalized. We are committed to designing plans that will integrate with the environment, exceed energy efficiency standards, and complement the Village’s spectacular setting. The information currently being gathered will help inform the design process, including building size, height, setbacks, etc.

Who is non-market affordable housing designed for?

The housing will be for a mix of rents and incomes within a single building, and geared to families, seniors, and persons with disabilities. 30% of units will be affordable housing (moderate incomes), 50% will be rent geared to income (subsidized units for households that meet BC Housing limits), 20% Deep subsidy (low incomes). The housing program does not include housing with support services or residential care components.

Who is working on this potential development?

Sea to Sky Community Services is leading the affordable housing project and is working in partnership with the Village of Pemberton. We have a long history of partnering with communities throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor and BC Housing to help address the housing shortage. The proposed Harrow Road project would be the fifth affordable and inclusive housing development operated by Sea to Sky Community Services. Currently, we manage 232 housing units across the corridor. 

Besides housing, what else is planned for the development?

In addition to creating approximately 60 affordable housing units, the proposed development would include space for SSCS administration and social services. For decades, we have been working with people in the Pemberton and surrounding areas to provide a wide range of services – from child development to crisis intervention to employment programs. The need in community is growing.  Year over year we see an 8% increase in populations served in Pemberton and the surrounding area.  Our goal is to build a new space for SSCS staff and programs, so that our team can be closer to the community we support.

When will this happen? What stage is the project in?

We have completed our Community Engagement process and are submitting a   rezoning application to the Village of Pemberton for their review and approval by Council. 

Where can I find more information?

In the weeks and months ahead, we will continue to provide updates and feedback opportunities, including community open houses, a project website, and opportunities to speak with project team members. Additional information about our services in the Pemberton region is available here and a media release about affordable housing for Pemberton is available here.

Who can I speak with?

If you have any questions about the proposed affordable housing project, please contact Jessie Abraham, Director of Housing, at: Jessie.Abraham@sscs.ca

How do I apply?

We are still in the early stages of building design and permit applications. If we successfully receive permits and BC Housing approval, we anticipate opening our application waitlist in 2024 before building completion and occupancy in 2025. Check back on our website for schedule and progress updates.