Fire hall housing | BCBusiness

Fire hall housing | BCBusiness
The City of Vancouver proposes to develop low-income housing above Fire Hall No. 5.

City council adds new mixed-use developments to broaden the low-income housing market

Building housing above convenient stores, community centres and libraries has been done, but that mixed-use housing category is adding another unit to the list. In an effort to provide more affordable housing units, the City of Vancouver is targeting spaces over fire halls.

City council has proposed a project to incorporate apartment suites above select fire stations. The project will begin by redeveloping Fire Hall No. 5, located on East 54th Avenue. The 60-year-old fire hall will not only be completely reconstructed, but the plan is to also build a housing facility above it, to help fill the constant need for more affordable residential spaces.

City councillor Kerry Jang says Fire Hall No. 5 is the perfect location to test out this new model of mixed-use developments because it’s close to a shopping mall and transit. “The amenities nearby will help cut costs and make it more affordable for the families living there,” says Jang.

Jang adds that multipurpose buildings help maximize land use and keep costs down. “The more units we get on the market, the better,” he says. “It’s really an issue of supply and demand. If we can build it quickly and affordably, everybody wins.”

Jang says the housing units will be geared toward lower-income families who have a combined annual income of $20,000 to $70,000, or lower. The project will also help broaden the scope of mixed-use developments. “It will hopefully spur on other developments to look at repurposing as well,” Jang says.
 
Jim de Hoop, managing director of social development for the City of Vancouver, says this type of housing is becoming the norm, rather than an exception. “With the scarcity of available land for social housing, the city has to look at any or all opportunities where there is going to be capital funding injected,” he says. De Hoop adds that combining low-income housing units with fire halls is an example of how the city is continuing to seek out innovative solutions in order to address the need for more affordable housing.