Parksville council deferred making a decision on a permit amendment for an affordable housing development until it can receive more information from the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society (NAHS).
The developer was previously granted a permit by council, but needs approval for changes to the layout of the buildings.
Council members expressed concern about a reduction in two bedroom units and the amendment’s a lack of balconies and storage space in one bedroom units.
“I object very strongly to the fact that they feel they can just modify this with the stroke of a pen and change the initial intent of the numbering of bedrooms,” said Coun. Doug O’Brien. He added council was initially told the buildings would cater to families.
The developer’s intent is to look after seniors struggling to pay rent, according to Coun. Mark Chandler.
“That’s what made me excited about this proposal, is that it was going to be an income-related rental base,” said Mayor Ed Mayne.
Blaine Russell, director of community planning, said NAHS proposed a spectrum of rents based on income, but he was not sure if the society had decided on the exact makeup of the rent.
Also of concern was who would be moving into the buildings, once completed. Coun. Marilyn Wilson said NAHS works with people looking for supportive housing and clients could transition into the housing.
“They do actually have several units in Nanaimo that are [supportive housing], so I guess I’m feeling a little uneasy about what we’re really getting,” she said, adding she was also wary about the section of property left empty for future development plans.
The city will invite NAHS to send a delegation to a meeting.