City tentatively supports grant for Gorge housing

Some question whether proposed rental building would fit with neighbourhood's long-range plan

The Greater Victoria Housing Society’s latest proposal to build affordable units meets the City of Victoria’s grant criteria.

But city councillors have some reservations about the project.

“I really want to support this, but … I just want to be on the record for saying, we have a real duty of care to the actual neighbourhood of Burnside-Gorge,” Coun. Shellie Gudgeon said.

Last week, council approved a $680,000 affordable housing grant for the proposed project at 35-39 Gorge Rd. E., subject to the coinciding rezoning application for the land being approved.

Council made clear, however, that its rezoning decision would not be coloured by this approval in principle, and would consider concerns from the Burnside-Gorge Community Association.

In the past, the association’s elected board of directors have expressed a desire to make Gorge Road a more pedestrian-friendly route, with more mixed-use developments.

“We’re looking at (the project) in isolation,” Gudgeon said.

The Burnside-Gorge neighbourhood lacks a village centre and already has a number of affordable housing projects along Gorge Road, she added.

The society’s proposal is for a four-storey building with 68 apartment units and five townhouses.

The Friendly Inn previously occupied the space.

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