Fraser Street Seniors Coop in Vancouver. Contributed

Maple Ridge partners with Community Land Trust for seniors’ homes

Location, timeline to be announced

Maple Ridge is partnering with the Community Land Trust to create an affordable housing project for seniors on land owned by the city.

Maple Ridge Mayor Michael Morden made the announcement last week, saying it’s a result of the “many options” explored by council as part of its community social safety plan, which includes providing affordable housing for seniors and those with disabilities.

Building timelines, the size or location of the project, haven’t been announced yet.

The Community Land Trust is a non-profit, social-purpose real estate developer, created by the Co-operative Housing Federation of B.C., says its website.

However, more work is needed before a new building begins to emerge from whatever site the city is donating. An agreement must first be reached that will result in a detailed proposal for the building. After that, federal funding sources could be explored.

“What that will deliver is housing for seniors, which is a commitment that our council’s made,” Morden said.

Morden also thanked MP Dan Ruimy and staff. Morden said in a news release that the Community Land Trust brings, “an extensive background in the delivery of successful housing projects in this province.”

Thom Armstrong, executive-director with the Community Land Trust, said he looked forward, “to working with the city to explore a development opportunity for new, permanent homes in the community.”

Morden still expects the province to build another seniors’ residence on Burnett Street on the site of current Garibaldi Ridge temporary supportive housing complex. That complex will move once the city and BC Housing can agree on a location for a permanent supportive housing complex.

“We want far more housing than just this one,” said Morden. “We have other steps well in hand for people that are dealing with social difficulties in their lives,” Morden said.

He said the Community Land Trust has a good track record. “They’ll work with the city to build what the city wants.”

Coun. Kiersten Duncan said she was thrilled to hear the announcement and couldn’t way to see it started. “I think it’s fantastic that council’s moving forward with this. I just wish it could be faster.”

Ruimy said he introduced the Community Land Trust to Morden in March. “We were trying to find a project for them (trsut) to do in Maple Ridge,” Ruimy said.

“They have been doing it for a while. So they know how to navigate the system. They will be tapping into the National Housing Strategy. They’re experts at this,” Ruimy said.

It’s an example how different levels of government can collaborate with non-profit agencies, “to get to where we need to go and tapping into the funds that are available. I think this is fantastic news,” Ruimy said.

“When everybody says they’re going to build stuff, bear in mind that you need the land,” Ruimy said.

Construction is underway on a 94-unit affordable housing building north of Valley Fair Mall, operated by Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services, with funding from B.C. Housing.

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