Maple Ridge council is giving enthusiastic support to a proposal to build a 64-unit rental apartment building just off Lougheed Highway, at 11761 Burnett St.
The building will be five storeys and have one- two- and three-bedroom apartments.
“I’m personally grateful for these 64 suites,” Mayor Nicole Read said at council’s June 28 meeting, when the proposal got first reading.
Coun. Kiersten Duncan was concerned, though, about the rental rates. She recently paid $1,300 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.
“And that’s quite high,” she said. “It’s very challenging if that’s the price of a one-bedroom apartment, just to rent. That’s comparable to a mortgage.”
However, Read didn’t want to impose too many conditions on developers who want to build rental units.
Abbotsford developer Quantum Properties is building the project, titled Sienna.
Maple Ridge planning director Christine Carter said the city is working on incentives to encourage building of rental blocks and that there have been other inquiries about building rental projects.
Coun. Tyler Shymkiw said that the city shouldn’t try to limit rents. Instead, increasing supply will help with rental rates.
“I think if we’re going to do anything with affordability, it’s build baby, build.”
Coun. Gordy Robson said the federal government could make a big difference, if it changed its tax policy to disallow depreciation of buildings on taxes, which resulted in the supply of rental accommodation drying up.
“I’m hoping that they’re going to make that change again. And if they do, I know they’ll be 500 or 600 units here in Maple Ridge within a year.”
He added that this project will increase the rental supply when they’re added on to the planned reconstruction of Sunrise rental apartments on 122nd Avenue.