A Kelowna non-profit organization continues its work to create new affordable rental housing in the city.
The Society of Hope said the wheels are turning for its next project in North Kelowna, named Pleasantvale 2.
“The thing about this site is that it’s always been affordable housing, of the longest memory, and for us to stay in the neighborhood and carry on that legacy (it’s great),” said Luke Stacks , executive director of Society of Hope.
“We are going to (add) 150 houses here.”
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Stack said the homes that will be built in North Kelowna will be a great addition to the neighborhood, creating a more diverse and inclusive area.
“I’m a big proponent of integrated housing, where everyone should have the opportunity to live in a neighborhood, regardless of income level,” Stack said.
“I think it’s healthy for our community to have lower income and higher income people – that’s what a community is.”
The new buildings will be built next to Society of Hopes’ existing Pleasantvale, 471 affordable rental units, for seniors and families.
“I’m super grateful to have a place like this, I couldn’t afford to live in Kelowna any other way,” said Pleasantvale resident Susan Monroe.
However, the new site is not without a bit of controversy.
The development will force the removal of some long-standing trees that nearby residents say they don’t want to see gone, particularly the large tree in the middle of the property.
“I really think they should rethink their plans. This subalpine spruce found there is rare. There isn’t another in the neighborhood like this and it’s home to an awful lot of animals,” Monroe told Global News on Friday.
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Stack said four of the property’s trees are incorporated into building plans, but not the vying tree.
“Through consultation with the neighborhood and working with the City of Kelowna, we are very pleased to say that we are protecting four of our heritage trees and they will be part of a garden for seniors,” Stack said.
Stack will retire from his role with the Society of Hope at the end of May – he has served as the society’s executive director for more than 30 years.
He has high hopes for the company and its future work.
“I hope that in the next few years we will go from 700 units to 900 units (affordable rentals). I am confident that our staff will continue to seek opportunities to serve our community in this area,” Stack said.
He expects construction of Pleasantvale 2 to begin in late 2022.
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