Building Completion & Move-In Information
[Apr 6th update] Effective immediately, all applications for housing at the alex will be processed through BC Housing. If you wish to be considered for housing at the alex, please apply here: https://housingapplication.bchousing.org/olf/faces/welcome;jsessionid=zpBX_rL6e3vHGW6HyUsAO9NtsUt4rNO-xMg2dWdd90Yqe8gGZ8Uk!-1587420839
[January 23rd update] Move ins started at the alex in late December. All of the shelter-rate units have now been allocated, from our original application list. We are negotiating the HILs rents with BC Housing, and will begin to rent those units up when we have clear confirmation of rent levels. There are nine low-end-of-market units still available. More information, including application information, is available here: The Alex | Apartments in Port Coquitlam, BC | RENTCafe (securecafe.com). We are still not taking any new applications, other than for low-end-of-market units as above, until the building is fully rented. Unfortunately and due to sheer volume, we cannot answer individual emails at this time.
[November 1st update] We remain on track to complete the alex for an early January move in. We are currently reviewing applications and so far, eight units have been offered and accepted. More units will be offered over the course of November. If you haven’t heard from us, please be patient. Unfortunately, we cannot answer individual emails at this time. As noted previously, we were initially overwhelmed with applications and will only be accepting new applications if we are unable to fill the building with the current applications.
[September 13 update]We remain on track to complete the alex for an early January move in. We will start to review applications already received starting late this month/early October, and will notify prospective tenants in mid – late October. Only if we are unable to fill the building with the current applications will we re-open the application process.
[August 8 update] Unfortunately, we received official notification today that the completion of the alex is going to be delayed by two months. Reasons provided by our builders are a shortage of materials, specifically cement for the production of concrete, and supplies, specifically fire and smoke dampers and in-duct smoke detectors. These delays are further exacerbated by a labour shortage due to a strike. It is likely that first move ins cannot now happen before January 1st, 2023.
[July 13 update] We sent out 31 full application packages yesterday. We continue to work through the remaining preliminary applications and hope to send out another batch of by end of week and a final batch early next week. We will not be notifying anyone who was not selected to submit a full application until we have received and reviewed all of the full applications and made final offers of housing. It is possible some shortlisted applicants will decline to complete the full application and or decline an offer of housing. We know many of you are anxious and we understand. We apologize this process can’t be quicker. We received 244 applications in total and reviewing them all thoroughly and giving each of them thoughtful consideration is taking time. Please remember the alex will not open before November 1st. We are working to ensure all final offers are made and accepted by no later than August 31st, which enables anyone who has to provide notice to a current “landlord” the opportunity to provide two full months’ notice. Again, we ask for your patience as we complete this process.
[July 5 update] We have now closed the preliminary application form as we are overwhelmed with applicants. We are working through applications this week and will be reaching out to everyone by end of day next Tuesday (July 12th), latest. Again, we sincerely regret that will not be able to offer everyone who applied housing. We wish we had three buildings.
[June 30 update] We have now attempted to contact everyone who applied for housing at the alex to determine unit required/desired. Many of you responded to our question about your monthly rent budget with a number that did not align with your source of income, which required us to call and check. We apologize for not asking that question in a more clear way. If you received a message from us but did not talk to anyone, please call us back. If you did not receive a call or message from us, it’s because you answered the question as we had intended and we did not need to check with you. We will now begin shortlisting applicants. As noted in our June 20 update, we have received almost five times as many applications as we have units. We will not be able to offer housing to everyone who applied. Once again, we thank you for your patience with this process and we extend our sincere regret, in advance, to everyone who will not be offered a unit. We wish we had more.
[June 20 update] We have received more than 225 applications for housing at the alex, and we continue to receive more applications every day. While we are not surprised, given the desperate need for affordable housing in the region, it is taking us longer to review applications than we anticipated. We do expect to reach out to everyone by the end of June, at the latest. We are still expecting to be able to start move ins on November 1st, 2022 and will update this page immediately if that changes. We apologize for the delay and thank you for your patience.
Units are expected to be ready for move in on November 1st, 2022. It is important to keep in mind however, that there are often surprises with new construction and there is still a possibility of delays. Check back to this webpage regularly for updates as we will post immediately if the move-in date changes.
Please don’t worry about getting your application in early. Decisions will be made based on housing criteria and need, not on who’s application is received first. We will not start to review applications until early June and will begin reaching out to applicants in mid-June, with questions and or decisions.
the alex is a mixed income building and includes:
- 17 units renting at maximum shelter allowance, including studio, one, two, three and four bedroom units.
- 40 units where rents will range between $900 and $1,400/month, depending on income, including studio, one, two and three bedroom units.
- 26 units renting at affordable market rates ranging from $1,100 for a studio unit to $1,700/month for a three bedroom unit.
There is one five-bedroom townhouse available. Rent could fit into any of the above categories and final decision will be based on applications received, and need.
There are four fully accessible units including two and three-bedroom units, as well as 24 adaptable units. Please let us know if you need an accessible unit and or if you need us to adapt a unit for your move in.
Applications for the alex will be accepted starting the second week in May. Please check back on our website the week of May 9th for our application. Please note, applications will be assessed based on a number of priorities, including connection to Port Coquitlam and the Tri-Cities communities and need; not on a first come, first served basis. We will be reviewing applications in mid-late June and making calls to potential tenants starting in late June/early July. We expect the alex to be ready for occupancy by no later than October 15th, 2022.
The early care and learning centre (day care) is expected to be open in January, 2022.
For more information about the alex, please read this page in its entirety.
Our proposed development will provide 89 units of housing for women, women and children and for women-headed families, 100 per cent of which will be nonmarket and affordable. Priority will be given to women and children who currently live in the Port Coquitlam and Tri-Cities area and to those who were forced to leave the Tri-Cities area in search of safe, affordable housing, but who may still have family and support networks in the Tri-Cities communities. Women and children from the Kwikwetlem Nation will also have priority access.
Study after study shows that safe, affordable and appropriate housing plays a central role in allowing women and families who are marginalized to re-establish their lives. Stable housing is, in fact, the foundation for positive change in the lives of women and their children. It reduces levels of stress and can change the perspectives of women by providing them the opportunity to empower themselves and therefore generate a positive, healthy and nurturing environment for their children. Housing at the Flint Street site will provide a safe, welcoming, affordable home for women and children, a home from which hope and possibility can flow.
Alignment with Metro and Port Coquitlam Housing Needs
Our proposed mixed-use development will provide a variety of housing unit types for women and children in Port Coquitlam and the Tri-Cities area, addressing a specific and urgent need as was identified in the 2015 BC Rental Housing Index, which states:
“Single mothers in Coquitlam are the most financially challenged demographic of all, with 75 per cent falling into the “severe” affordability measure of spending 30 per cent of gross income on housing. About half of single mom renters in Coquitlam spend a “critical” 50 per cent or more of their income on housing, putting them at risk of homelessness, according to housing advocates. On top of that, index measures show 30 per cent of single moms in Coquitlam raise children in overcrowded conditions, compared to 24 per cent of single mom renters across B.C.”
In June 2013, the Tri-Cities Homelessness & Housing Task Group published a report The Housing Needs of Women and Their Children in the Tri-Cities. This report documented the serious lack of permanent affordable housing for women and their children in the Tri-Cities and recommended it be the first priority to address. There are also many women with children who are on BC Housing’s wait list. Many of those women are housed but, in numerous cases, inadequately. The study suggests older siblings of different genders may be sharing bedrooms or in some cases families have even been split up amongst different shelters.
Addressing needs identified in the The Housing Needs of Women and Their Children in the Tri-Cities and in the 2015 BC Rental Housing Index, the proposed development will embrace a mix of women including single women, women and children (including women-headed families where there may be a male partner), single women who are older, and young women who are aging out of care; creating a community of women and families who have similar life experiences such as struggles with homelessness, poverty and experiences of violence/abuse. All leases will be in women’s names.
The development also envisions a licensed, nonprofit daycare of at least 37 spaces that will include infant, toddler and after-school care, and a community health centre, in partnership with the Fraser Health Authority, that will offer a family practice and could include space for independent family doctors, general practitioners and specialists, a pharmacy, a physio practice, and other health-care related businesses. Priority access to both the daycare spaces and the Community Health Centre will be given to the families living in the building and to families in the neighbourhood.
the alex is a Halq’eméylem word which means “sister.” Read more about the Halq’eméylem language here. Pronunciation can be heard here.
The site is owned by Metro Vancouver and will be leased to Atira Women’s Resource Society on a long-term basis. Located within the Glenwood neighborhood, near Port Coquitlam’s Northside commercial area, the site is accessible for the women who will live there, their children and families. The corner site faces Flint Street and Prairie Avenue, an arterial road serviced with public transit and a marked bicycle route. Kwayhquitlam Middle School is located immediately east and James Park Elementary School is just a 15-minute walk away. The land use designation for the site in Port Coquitlam’s Official Community Plan is Townhouse Residential and an amendment to the Plan would be required to accommodate the proposal. Rezoning would also be required. In 2000, the City gave favourable consideration to a proposal for a 4-storey apartment building and townhouse project but that project did not proceed due to a loss of federal funding at that time.
Proposed Building Use, Size & Design
The vacant site is comprised of four properties located at the intersection of Prairie Avenue and Flint Street. The site area is a total of 49,372 square feet. The concept consists of three blocks of two and three storey townhomes flanking the interior and rear lot lines as a respectful buffer to the adjacent townhome and single family developments, with a five-storey, mixed-use apartment building at the corner of Prairie and Flint. Parking will be underground with access from the lane, and a drop-off area is proposed to be located next to the lane. The main floor of the mixed-use apartment building is proposed to house a total of 16,000 square feet of commercial space that would house a nonprofit, community daycare (5200 sq.ft.), a community health centre and or other social enterprise endeavors. Floors two-five above will house 76 dwelling units, from small studio units to four-bedrooms, ranging in size from 320 to 1,300 square feet. The townhomes being proposed consist of eight, three-bedroom units, four, four-bedroom units and one, five-bedroom home ranging in size from 1,200 through 1,600 square feet and having a height of three storeys; there is one, two-storey townhome. The total approximate gross floor area is 15,400 square feet. The total proposed square footage for the development is estimated to be 94,000 square feet.
Energy Saving Features
Our development will embrace the upcoming changes to the BC Building Code and the implementation of a stepped level of building code requirements as it relates to sustainability. The reduction of GHGs, energy usage and implementation of construction methodologies to ensure that our building is sustainable and energy efficient during its life cycle is an important consideration, which we take seriously.
We will implement an energy modeling program as part of our overall design process. We will work closely with BC Housing and Metro Vancouver to ensure that building components (continuous air barrier, heat recovery units and minimizing thermal bridging) provide for the most sustainable building possible and ensure the building’s energy consumption is compliant with the upcoming step level program within the BC Building Code to be implemented later this year as well as the City’s Environmental Conservation development permit requirements.
Who will live in the new project?
The project will be tenanted by women, children and families, with a focus on creating a intergenerational community that includes young women, women who are older (seniors) and well as single moms with children and single moms with children and partners. Priority will be given to women who currently live in Port Coquitlam and who are homeless (e.g. living in a transition house) or precariously housed (e.g. paying more rent than they can afford, living in a small or poorly maintained basement suite, etc.) and to women currently living in the Tri-Cities communities. Women from the Kwikwetlem First Nation will also be prioritized, as well as women whose children already attend school in the area. Only if the units are unable to be filled by women from the immediate community, will units be offered to women from outside the community. In this case priority will go to women who grew up in and still have family and support networks in the Tri-Cities area.
How much rent will women pay?
One third of the rents will be targeted at maximum shelter allowance for women and families in receipt of income assistance or eligible for a Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) subsidy. One third of the rents will be targeted according to Housing Income Limits (HILs), a rent that is established based on 30% of gross annual household income. Information about HILs is available here: Housing Income Limits (HILs). One third of the rents will be targeted at low end of market rents, which will be established towards the completion of the project. Low end of market rents will likely be between 10 and 20% below local-area market rents.
What will the rent up process look like?
Prospective tenants will be vetted through a typical tenanting process, e.g. references and credit history checked, and all tenants will be required to sign a standard residential tenancy agreement as well as Atira’s Good Neighbour Agreement, and a Crime Free Housing Addendum. As this will be long-term housing, tenants will typically enter into a one-year lease, after which tenancies will revert to month-to-month.
Where will residents park?
Parking will be provided on site, in an underground structure, accessible from the lane. We are working with third-party transportation planning engineers to ensure adequate parking for residents and visitors is provided.
What about traffic impacts?
As noted above, we are working with third-party transportation planning engineers, who will produce a study that ensures all aspects of parking and traffic generation is captured, studied and factored into the design. Their scope of work will be vetted and defined by the City of Port Coquitlam and the study will be made public and posted on this webpage when complete.
Is the day care only for children who live in the building?
No, the day care will also be accessible to the community at large, with priority access provided to the families in the building, families in the neighbourhood and families with children attending the Kwayhquitlam middle school.
What about the community health centre?
Like the day care, the proposed community health centre will be accessible to the community at large with priority provided to families living in building as well as to those living in the immediate neighbourhood.
Will there be methadone clinic or safe injection site in the development?
No. Absolutely not.
Will the clinic offer addictions treatment?
Like all health centres, clinics and medical practices, what treatments are offered at the health centre will be between the individual doctors and their patients. It is possible that some doctors may be offering some patients treatment for struggles with substance use, but this is not the focus of the health centre and so would be no more visible than at any other medical practice.
I thought this site was going to be a park?
The site was acquired by the Greater Vancouver Housing Corporation a number of years ago and has been considered for a variety of nonmarket housing purposes over the years. While the site is designated in the City’s Official Community Plan (OCP) for townhomes, the Plan also contains policies which support consideration of non-market housing to meet housing needs. The OCP represents the City’s vision for the future growth and development of the community and guides development by establishing policies and designating land for specific uses. It also provides clear direction as to how the community will grow and change in the coming years. The current OCP was adopted in 2005 and substantially updated in 2013 and is available for review on the City website here: https://www.portcoquitlam.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/3838-Official-Community-Plan.pdf
What will happen to the trees?
We are working with a third-party certified arborist who will produce a report regarding the existing trees on the site, assessing each individual tree for health and safety concerns, which will then be verified by City staff. We recognize mature trees improve the public realm and enhance any new development by providing an established-neighbourhood look and feel. As such, we will endeavour to save as many healthy trees as possible. We also recognize we heard from some neighbours who had concerns about the health of a safety risks posed by the trees along the west lot line. Those neighbours expressed a desire to see those trees removed and replaced with newer, healthier and fuller vegetation, which would also provide a better screen and more privacy. Like the traffic study, the arborist report will be made public and posted on this webpage when complete.
Is this a done deal?
No. While the City recognizes the need to increase its supply of affordable housing, like all other new developments, this project must proceed through a municipal process, which provides the public an opportunity to have input and provide feedback on all aspects of the project. The project team held its first public open house on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017. 21 neighbours and interested community members attended, asked questions, and shared their thoughts on topics ranging from the building design to plans for existing trees, to the women, children and families who will ultimately be housed in the new development. A second public open house is scheduled for Thursday, November 23rd, 2017 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. A larger venue is currently being sought and will be advertised well in advance of the open house.
When will it be built?
We are targeting completion in the summer of 2022.
Onsite building manager
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