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Why are you redeveloping this site?

The United Church of Canada holds a number of sites throughout the country, including Queens Avenue in New Westminster. With shrinking attendance, congregations are being consolidated and sites are being left vacant. However, we want to see these sites continue to be community hubs and generate life and activity. Redevelopment of these sites to deliver affordable housing and community amenities is a priority of the Queens Avenue congregation and aligned with UPRC’s vision and The United Church’s principles to give back to the community.

Are you permitted to build what you are proposing?

An Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment, rezoning, Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA), and development permit is required to facilitate a redevelopment of the site to allow for a mixed-use development providing market and below-market rental, retention of the church/sanctuary space, and a new childcare facility and small-scale commercial uses (i.e., coffee shop).

The City of New Westminster is facing a housing supply and affordability crisis, which impacts the most vulnerable of residents. Affordable childcare space is also a scarce commodity in the city. This proposal will be delivering both much needed housing and childcare space to the city. 

Will the church be retained?

The Queens Avenue United Church has served the community for more than 160 years and the intent is for it continue doing so following redevelopment. The sanctuary space is proposed to be retained and refreshed, including modernization to the front façade to make the space more inviting and preservation of the stain glass windows. The interior of the sanctuary space can be modified to transform it into a multi-purpose space that can serve the congregation and wider community. A heritage assessment has been undertaken by Merrick Architecture and the retention and conservation of the sanctuary will be secured through a Heritage Revitalization Agreement. 

What will happen to the existing childcare?

There are currently 79 on-site childcare spaces – 33-spaces are operated by Queens Avenue Daycare Society and 46-spaces are operated by Frog Hollow Montessori House. UPRC will work with the City and two current operators to find them appropriate alternate spaces. The objective will be to find space in New Westminster, where they can continue to operate their facilities. The earliest the daycare and Montessori will have to move is June 2022. 

Are you permitted to build what you are proposing?

What kind of affordable housing are you proposing?

The residential component is proposed to be 100% rental in nature – approximately 70% of the units will be market rental homes and 30% will be offered as below-market homes (approximately 50% below market rates or 80% below Median Market Rent). 

UPRC will be working with Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) National Housing Co-Investment Fund. The minimum affordability requirement for qualification for this is “rents for at least 30% of the units must be less than 80% of the Median Market Rent and maintained for a minimum of 20 years”, which in 2020 is as follows:

  • Studios - $829.50

  • 1 Bedroom - $928.25

  • 2 Bedroom - $1,185

  • 3 Bedroom - $1,461.50

A rental analysis of purpose-built rental within the surrounding area in New Westminster will be conducted to determine the rental rate for the market units. This analysis will ensure the market units are fairly priced within the broader rental market.

How will the impacts on the surrounding single-family homes be minimized?

Attention has been given to the design of the site to allow for an appropriate transition to the single-family neighbourhood to the east. The bulk of the density is situated in a tower form adjacent to the retained sanctuary, as far from the single-family homes to the east as possible. This narrower profile also reduces the amount of shadowing and the length of time shadows are present in any given location. The podium of the building also steps down towards the east to minimize the impact on the single-family home, transitioning in scale from single family height up to the taller form.

What are the impacts of this proposal on traffic and parking?

A traffic impact study will be undertaken to understand the traffic impacts, if any, of this proposal. Parking for residents and visitors are proposed to be provided underground.  

Upon submission of a formal development application, the municipal approvals process can take between 12-16 months.

How long will the redevelopment take?