Renewal plans for First Street’s aging Duncan Manor include having the facility taken down and replaced. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Renewal plans for First Street’s aging Duncan Manor include having the facility taken down and replaced. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Duncan Manor looks to rebuild and make big expansion

Plan calls for up to 300 new units built in two phases

A “renewal” of Duncan Manor that would include a big expansion could soon be underway.

The non-profit Duncan Housing Society, which operates the Manor, a three story, 122-unit building on First Street that offers below-market independent housing for seniors and persons with disabilities, has applied for funding from BC Housing’s Community Housing Fund program for work that could see an entirely new, expanded facility with approximately 300 units when completed.

Cheryl Jones, chairwoman of the society, said the current facility is more than 50 years old and the aging plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, and other components of the building are showing wear and tear after decades of use.

RELATED STORY: 100 SUPPORTIVE HOUSING UNITS TO BE BUILT IN DUNCAN, N. COWICHAN

She said the society has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the City of Duncan that would see a land swap for the portion of the nearby Lawn Bowling Club currently owned by the society, for a portion of the city’s Centennial Park parking lot to make way for the construction of a new building on a portion of the parking lot.

The current parking lot is proposed to be expanded northward to maintain the same number of parking spaces, while access to the park would be moved to Second Street.

“We plan to do the project in phases, and we’re hoping to move our tenants into a new building, the first phase, when it’s completed, and then we’ll build a new building where the current one is situated,” Jones said.

“We’re hoping to have 300 units when the renewal project is complete, but there’s no guarantees. We’re just at the beginning of this project and we don’t know yet exactly know how much we’ll be asking BC Housing for, but we’re assuming it will be quite a bit of money. We expect we’ll hear whether we will receive the funding by April or May and if we do, we hope to have construction of the first phase started in early 2022.”

RELATED STORY: CITY OF DUNCAN LOOKS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS

A press release from the City of Duncan states that the city decided to enter into an MOU with the society regarding the land the first phase of the project would be built on because they both share the same goal of providing below market housing for seniors and adults with disabilities.

The release states that the MOU does not constitute or guarantee any development approvals for the project, and the renewal plan has several bridges to cross before it can become a reality.

These include a successful grant application, as well as the necessary land exchange, rezoning, subdivision, and development permit approval processes that each require public notification and input opportunities.

The society will also be responsible for all design, construction, and operational costs of the project.

“Duncan Manor has been a vital part of the Centennial Park community providing important services for seniors and persons with disabilities for decades,” said Mayor Michelle Staples.

“The City looks forward to the next steps in Duncan Housing Society’s efforts to increase affordable housing opportunities for low-income seniors.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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