More homes planned for Maple Ridge downtown core

Project qualifies for new incentives

If council likes the concept, another 86 homes will be built in downtown Maple Ridge, on 222nd Street and Brown Avenue.

Focus Architecture is applying to build the four-storey building and is seeking rezoning to allow that on three parcels that will be combined for the project.

In reviewing the proposal, the district’s advisory design panel made several suggestions, such as creating a plaza corner at Brown and 222nd Avenue, adding more bicycle stalls and reviewing the garbage enclosure and ensuring there are at least 30 centimetres of top soil for the landscaping around the building. An information meeting was held in January, but only one nearby resident attended, while Focus said it will address the design concerns.

The size of the units will range from 465 to 841 sq. feet, and will include bachelor suites and, one- and two-bedroom suites.

According to staff, the project qualifies for the Town Centre Incentive Program, which provides a range of incentives from relaxed parking requirements, fast tracking of applications, as well as fee and tax discounts.

The latest incentive offers builders of green, multi-unit apartment buildings up to $75,000 in direct, non-repayable grants from the district for building in the downtown.

“In putting this program together, council has pulled out all the stops,” district financial general manager Paul Gill told council Tuesday.

“It’s a much better program than we used to have,” much better than other municipalities, added Mayor Ernie Daykin.

Meanwhile, another 46-unit apartment complex that was supposed to be built on the north side of Brown Avenue has yet to start. B.C. Housing is funding a $9.2-million energy smart building tentatively called Alouette Heights that will be operated by the Alouette Home Start Society.

The supportive housing project will give people in drug or mental rehab programs a place to live, under 24-hour supervision. All but the caretaker suite will be bachelor units.

The complex will be a green building and could reach the gold certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Some of those features include, low-flow plumbing fixtures, water conserving landscaping and bio swales, or ground depressions, to treat runoff water.

Work on that was supposed to start last fall, but has been delayed until some time this spring.