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Sustainable rental housing is a go for Pemberton

Council to study parking issues this summer
housing complex Village of Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman (centre) and Chief Administrative Officer Nikki Gilmore (left) along with Councillor Jennie Helmer (foreground) examine the new Radius rental-housing complex slated for Arbutus Street. Photo by Lynn Mitges

A sustainable housing complex is coming to Pemberton after council granted a development permit application for Radius, a 45-unit rental complex on Arbutus Street.

"This is going to be super for the community. We don't get this opportunity very often," said Councillor Ted Craddock, who noted that short-term rental companies, such as Airbnb, are killing the rental market for local residents.

The development permit includes several conditions, one of which is that the complex provide 72 parking spaces and that a traffic–impact study be undertaken.

But Craddock questioned whether such a study is needed.

"Why should the developer pay for a traffic study when we know it's going to be another 75 cars in that block?" he said.

Of concern to several council members was the on-street parking that comes with a residential apartment complex.

"This is still going to have an impact on street parking, but otherwise I love the concept, the development, it's a great addition, said Counc. Karen Ross.

"How much would parking issues be brought into a traffic-impact study?"

Counc. Jennie Helmer said: "I really hesitate adding 75 more cars. I have a little bit of a problem — we know full well they'll come back with a variance application for (additional) parking."

Mayor Mike Richman said congestion affecting Portage street already occurs in part due to nearby residential buildings.

"I don't want to keep congesting those streets. I'm comfortable for the variance request to come after the fact," he said.

Ross added: "If transportation in our area improves — this type of development attracts people who won't use their cars."

The four-storey building will be state-of-the-art construction and will feature a contemporary design. It will produce as much energy as it consumes. The site will include a community garden, onsite bike- and ski-tuning room plus storage lockers for renters.

The design also includes provision for two electric vehicles that are owned by the Moda car-share program.

The units are likely to appeal to seniors and low-income families. The complex will be walking distance to shops, transportation, schools and the community hall.

Council passed a motion to undertake a parking analysis in the upcoming summer months.