Surrey City Council gave its approval to the $66-million Legion Veterans Village project on Monday night.
After receiving first and second reading from Surrey City Council earlier this month, the project received third reading after a public hearing Monday night.
No one spoke for, or against, the project during the hearing.
“I hope the public does see that that is what we hope for the future of 135A Street,” said Mayor Linda Hepner.
“That is happily carried,” Hepner stated after council voted unanimously to move the project forward Monday.
The project required council’s blessing to increase the allowable density for the property (10630 City Pkwy., 13525 106th Ave. and 10647 135A Street) from 3.5 to 5.5 Floor Area Ratio, as well as allowing it to be rezoned from Community Commercial to Comprehensive Development.
“In carrying that, it will move into the fast-track lane for an area that needed revitalization and has been identified as a fast-track project.”
The $66-million project is one that Mayor Linda Hepner has previously said she intends to fast track as part of a “nexus” program for “transformative, city-shaping” projects.
The Veterans Village — a partnership between the Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command, the Whalley Legion and Lark Group— aims to address a “critical shortage of services” for veterans, soldiers and emergency first-responders who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health conditions.
In phase one, a 20-storey mixed-use tower will be constructed that takes inspiration from the iconic Vimy Ridge Memorial.
“The sun shades placed on the exterior of the building facing City Parkway extend up the tower in a pattern that reflects the shape of the twin columns of the iconic Canadian war memorial, while the use of red is inspired by the colour of the remembrance poppy,” a report to council notes. “The red sun shades are repeated on each face of the Veterans Village tower, but in a simpler fashion. The materials on the tower consist largely of red, white and silver metal panels and clear glass walls.”
This building will have 148 apartments on levels eight to 20. Levels four to seven will have 48 affordable rental housing units for veterans, first responders and their families, to be operated by Chelsea Society in partnership with BC Housing.
The tower will house 10 transitional units which will provide short-term housing for individuals post-hospital discharge who are not ready to live independently. This area of the building will also be home to a support centre for veterans and first responders, operated by WeCare.
The building will also house Canada’s first “Centre of Excellence” in PTSD and mental health; a research and rehabilitation centre focusing on robotics and devices to help amputees, exoskeletons, and neuroscience; an operational stress injury clinic; and office space.
The Whalley Legion’s new home will be on the ground floor of building, as will cadet training space, a coffee shop and a medical clinic.
The second 26-storey tower, to be built in phase two, will be entirely market residential units, including 14 ground-level townhomes and 311 apartments.
The project is to be built on the Whalley Legion property, at 13525 106th Ave. The property has been subdivided in order to sell half of the housing as market housing, to increase profits and make the project financially viable.
It’s anticipated that the project will break ground this fall, with an anticipated completion date of 2020, pending city approvals.