Mount View school lands to undergo facelift

Townhouse project approved as part of Campus of Care

Affordable rental housing for families is the focus of the next construction project to be built on the former Mount View school property.

As part of Mount View Heights, The Vergo, a block of 14 affordable townhouses will be built to house families struggling to afford the high cost of rent.

“These units will be meeting an important social good,” said Saanich Coun. Dean Murdock during Monday’s committee of the whole meeting.

Saanich council voted unanimously to move ahead, despite minor concerns with the project, which needed approval of a development permit.

Mount View Heights is a $100-million project put forward by the Capital Regional Hospital District. The CRHD administers capital funding for projects while the Vancouver Island Health Authority is mandated with delivering heath care to the region.

Coun. Vic Derman urged the applicants to reconsider how the units will be heated. Plans to use baseboard heating will increase the carbon footprint of a project aiming for LEED gold certification, he said.

Architect Paul Hammond said the original goal was to have a heating system connected to all buildings on the property. But, because The Vergo will be built prior to several other larger buildings, the townhouse project would’ve had to bear the cost of the extensive heating system.

The townhouses are expec-ted to rent for $1,150 to $1,250 per month and will be geared to lower-income families making between $42,000 and $58,000 per year.

Although most councillors agreed that a few opportunities were missed with the project – specifically the absence of a park – there was consesnus that the benefits outweighed their concerns.

“These 14 families’ lives will change when they get into one of these units,” said Coun. Susan Brice.

Plans for the Mount View Heights Campus of Care include a seven-storey, 244-bed residential care facility; a six-storey, 112-unit independent seniors living home; 52 units of affordable housing and a commercial building.

A 36-suite building that will provide supportive housing for the homeless is nearing completion on the site. The units were part of the athlete’s village in Whistler during the 2010 Olympics.

kslavin@saanichnews.com