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The app seeks to bring cohabitation housing to Pemberton

A development permit application from Pemberton City Hall aims to add a new collective housing project to the village’s affordable housing stock.

The project, if approved, will be located at 7340 Crabapple Court and will include 64 micro-suites of approximately 300 square feet with kitchenettes, dormitories and bathrooms. The building will also include a shared kitchen, dining room, living room and laundry room.

“We create collaborative living spaces that enable more meaningful, nested and connected lives. We apply a person-centered design to bring home and community closer, ”said Jake McEwan, Founder and CEO of Requestor LiveShare, in a presentation at the Committee of the Whole meeting on August 31.

“It’s a new take on an old idea dreamed up by the millennial generation that values ​​things like openness, collaboration, social media and the sharing economy. Apartments are not so much designed to be lived in as to be lived in and focus on common amenities rather than private space.

The main issue currently facing developers revolves around the need for a parking by-law waiver to move forward with the project.

Currently, under the Village of Pemberton Zoning By-law, the project must provide one parking space per unit. On top of that, a commitment to the subject land that remains from a previous project requires it to provide 14 additional stalls to the neighboring Gateway building.

According to consultant Cameron Chalmers, when the first phase of the two-phase Gateway development project ran out of parking, an agreement was issued requiring the construction of the second phase to provide additional parking spaces for use. of the Gateway building.

“This is one of those scenarios where to fill a gap in Phase 1 of our project, Phase 2 has been loaded with the burden,” Chalmers said. “Now that we are looking at a different request, the applicants, in this case, have chosen to fulfill the contractual obligation and are offering 14 surface parking spaces, which would be available for commercial operations in the front door. “

With its application, LiveShare proposes to honor the 14 stands required by the convention, while providing 25 additional parking spaces for its own project.

With this potential affordable housing, which is currently estimated to cost around $ 900 per month, McEwan is targeting a younger population who he says “generally do not own a car.”

In addition to relying on finding tenants without cars, it offers several other solutions to potential parking issues, including a 30-passenger LiveShare van that will provide daily shuttle services to Whistler and weekend services to Vancouver and Squamish. , a self-service bicycle. program with 10 bikes for use by residents; and a community rideshare program with two AWD cars that can be reserved for use through a mobile app or on the LiveShare website.

While all council members were interested in the idea of ​​this affordable cohabitation project, varying the parking lot from 64 to just 25 spaces was a major concern for everyone involved.

“I like the concept. I think there is an opportunity that it might work. I think the location is difficult when it comes to parking, ”said Councilor Ted Craddock. “My concern would be how many people would park in the streets of the Glen at night, during the day, and if we have parking at the community center. I just think I really have a little problem with this. I think all the ideas they put forward are great. I just don’t know how you tell 64 people that only 25 people can have a vehicle and it blocks me. “

However, Mayor Mike Richman, while agreeing with Craddock’s concerns, said he believes that if you want to make the transition to a more walkable community, you need housing options that support this way of life.

“We’re still car dependent and everyone recognizes that we live in Pemberton and it’s hard to get around, but I think if we don’t build equipment and assets that don’t include cars, we will continue to encourage people not to look for other ways. to get around, ”Richman said. “So in the same way that we want to build a pedestrian community that encourages people to go to cities, to walk to cities, we have to build things with that in mind.”

A second concern raised by the Council. Amica Antonelli wondered if the solutions to the parking problems proposed by McEwan were feasible based on the fact that similar programs failed in Whistler.

“Whistler has a lot of examples of homes that have promised shuttles or carpooling, and it didn’t come up because it wasn’t economically feasible, and then, of course, the municipality can’t really try to enforce something that is ‘doesn’t work economically,’ she said. “So I would be very careful to promise these amenities instead of parking, because we have many examples where it has not worked.”

Ultimately, as long as it is aware and aware of the concerns raised in Committee of the Whole, LiveShare was allowed to move forward with the application process.

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