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Habitat for Humanity’s biggest project on Island being built in Nanaimo

Four-building, 25-unit project planned for Metral Drive
Concept drawings for a Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island four-building, multi-unit housing project on Metral Drive. (Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity)

A non-profit in Nanaimo is embarking on its largest project on Vancouver Island, a multi-unit affordable housing complex.

Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island, dedicated to providing roofs over people’s heads, will construct four buildings at 5915 Metral Dr. in Nanaimo.

Jeff Krafta, habitat’s executive director, said the project is unlike previous single-family dwelling builds. He describes it as a 25-unit stacked townhouse, with some one-bedroom ground floor and upper floor units, and some units with both an upstairs and a downstairs. Twelve units are two bedrooms with a den, two are accessible units with two bedrooms and a den, four are one-bedroom units, three are accessible one-bedroom units, and four are studio units.

Krafta said he couldn’t comment on the ownership model, but did say the non-profit is moving in a direction that will allow it to help “significantly more families get into housing in the next several years.” Potential residents will have a chance to apply for accommodations at a later date. Building 1 will be closest to Metral Drive and Building 4 will be farthest from the street.

“Building 4 is what we would start building and then once complete, we would try and house people in there during construction of Building 3 and Building 2, etc.,” he said.

A development permit has been attained from City of Nanaimo and the intention is to apply for four separate building permit applications, according to Krafta. The new project is a “game-changer,” he said, and going to larger-scale projects and capitalizing on economies of scale will be key.

“It costs as much for us to build four units in a multi-family complex as to build one single-family dwelling,” said Krafta. “With the housing crisis the way it is, we need to look at some more significant and impactful solutions. Doing it one house at a time, so to speak, is not the way that we’re going to succeed.”

He said this will be Habitat’s biggest project on the Island. He hopes to have “shovels in the ground” by December.

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

I joined Black Press in 2010 and cover education, court and RDN. I am a Ma Murray and CCNA award winner.
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