Kettle Society unveils plans for social-housing project on Commercial Drive

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      The Kettle Society has released artist renderings for a social-housing project the nonprofit has planned for the intersection of Commercial Drive and Venables.

      The proposal has attracted heated criticism from some residents who argue the complex is too large for the neighbourhood.

      The complex will consist of three connected towers. The tallest will stand 12 stories, a second at 10 stories tall, and a third is eight stories, and those will be connected by a wider block five-stories tall. It will include 30 supportive-housing units that will be rented at below-market rates, approximately 200 apartments for sale at market rates, as well as street-level retail.

      Kettle has operated a building at the same location on Commercial for 40 years. The new structures would see it expand onto neighbouring sites owned by the City of Vancouver and Boffo Properties, a partner on the project.

      Kettle Society

      Residents who are against the project maintain it is the scale of the development they oppose.

      “We’ve been very clear our issue has never been about the Kettle, it’s about the tower,” Barbara Cameron told Metro last summer. “This would be a real intrusion on the community.”

      Kettle has said it needs the extra space to provide housing for people with mental-health challenges and others in need, and that the 200 apartment units will help it pay for those services.

      Kettle Society

      Through the summer of 2015, the Straight published a four-part series that explored the question of whether or not social-housing projects attract crime to a neighbourhood.

      After analyzing Vancouver police data related to 11 supportive-housing buildings in Vancouver, the Straight concluded that a steady increase in the number of calls to police does occur for the first five to seven months of operation. But after that time, the number of calls begins to decline. And by the end of each building’s first year in operation, police visits are usually substantially fewer than the number around the midyear peak.

      (Note that series looked at developments with significantly larger social-housing components than the 30 units Kettle plans to rent at below-market rates. Based on that research, it can be predicted the addition of just 30 social-housing units would have little impact on a neighbourhood.)

      The Kettle’s plan for the Commercial Drive site does not yet have a date for when construction will begin but is described on its website as entering its final phase before official adoption.