A proposed development would see two four-storey apartment buildings erected on Adair Street in Armstrong, next to the Nor-Val Arena. (Google Maps)

A proposed development would see two four-storey apartment buildings erected on Adair Street in Armstrong, next to the Nor-Val Arena. (Google Maps)

‘Affordable’ apartments hot topic in Armstrong

Public hearing to reconvene next Monday to hear out residents’ concerns about rezoning greenspace

Thirty-six people tuned into the first of two virtual public hearings regarding the potential rezoning of 0.835-hectares of green space near Armstrong’s Nor-Val Arena.

The property rezoning from parkland to medium-density residential would allow for the development of an affordable housing project.

A clerical error in notification letters, however, means the public who may have missed their opportunity to speak for or against the proposed project will have a second chance to have their say Jan. 25 at 4:45 p.m.

The City of Armstrong received 39 pieces of correspondence from residents.

All but four of those submissions urged councillors to vote against the rezoning, which could allow for the build-out of two four-storey buildings totalling 80 units.

Concerns around the loss of green space, increased traffic and population, the lack of supporting infrastructure, parking, employment and transit opportunities were raised in the Jan. 18 hearing, which was held on the Zoom platform in accordance with the provincial COVID-19 health orders.

At the Sept. 28, 2020, council meeting, staff recommended council enter a partnership agreement with either Armstrong Spallumcheen Attainable Housing Society or Anhart Community Housing to support the reaffirmed strategic goal to provide affordable housing.

Council then directed staff to align the Official Community Plan and zoning of the green space on Adair Street, which would allow for future development.

Residents, however, take issue with the seeming lack of transparency as potential developer Anhart Community Housing (ACH) is a privately-funded charity that checks the social housing box while limiting other demographic groups who may require affordable housing.

ACH works with local investors and partners to build affordable housing projects. With projects in Hope, Vancouver and Merritt, ACH’s aim is preventing homelessness by creating housing opportunities for those who earn less than $40,000.

But some Armstrong residents worry this type of project may bring undesirable neighbours, increase crime rates and open drug use.

“We are glad to hear that you recognize that Armstrong needs more ‘affordable’ housing,” wrote resident Tannis Sawatzky.

The city’s recent housing needs assessment showing a need for 205 units, with affordability for rent being the need for most of those units.

“Do you think Anhart is the right developer for this project, given that they are a social (low-income) housing provider and knowing that Armstrong needs more affordable housing, not social housing?”

Residents raised issue with the speed the city appears to be advancing the project, lack of public consultation, the proximity of the property to sewage ponds while others stressed the importance of local bid opportunities.

Resident Patti Noonan voiced her concerns stating the loss of green space would be devastating as it contains urban forest and wildlife trails that should be protected.

“Green space is a draw for new residents…” she said, noting it’s used by families, organizations, educational groups and more. “This space is referred to as a gem.”

The public hearing was moved to recess after all residents registered to speak said their piece.

The Jan. 25 meeting will allow council to review and consider written submissions received since the Jan. 18 hearing and the Jan. 21 noon deadline.

READ MORE: Affordable apartments on Armstrong’s agenda

READ MORE: Two apartment buildings proposed to provide affordable housing in Armstrong

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Coldstream owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Vernon residents can breathe a little easier now that a dust advisory has ended in the area. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Dust advisory lifted in Vernon

Changing meteorological conditions have improved regional air quality

The City of Vernon is looking for input into its Climate Action Plan. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon voices wanted on climate action plan

Community engagement sought on city plan

Displays and programming have continued at the Vernon Public Art Gallery despite pandemic restrictions. (Lianne Viau file photo)
Support keeps Vernon art groups’ lights on

Despite pandemic restrictions, art gallery and others sustaining the storm

The District of Lake Country saw its number of overdose calls double in 2020 over the previous year. (Black Press file photo)
Overdose calls doubled in Lake Country in 2020: report

The district’s protective services annual report shows there were 47 overdose calls last year

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Fire ripped through a mobile home on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna on March. 6. (Phil McLachlan - West Kelowna News)
‘My whole life just went up in smoke’; Fire consumes Okanagan mobile home

RCMP confirmed that there were no injuries due to the fire

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Retired B.C. teacher and star CFL kicker charged for assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 closed in Metchosin, detour made available early Saturday

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

A member of the Vernon Search and Rescue winch helicopter team pulls a skier who broke her leg at the gorge backcountry area east of Sicamous into the helicopter on Friday March 5. (Shuswap Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Search and rescue helicopter helps injured skier out of Shuswap backcountry

The Salmon Arm woman broke her leg, but was helped out of the bush thanks to radio communication.

COVID creature characters featured in new video by Kelowna resident that attempts to bring a little humour to counter the fear and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. (Contributed)
Kelowna man’s music video confronts COVID stress with humour

Power guitar tune combats pandemic uncertainty

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Most Read