Terwillegar residents speak out against proposed housing project

Terwillegar residents are voicing their frustration about a future housing development slated for the neighbourhood.

A 60-unit low-income housing project has been proposed for Terwillegar

Frustrations flare at open house meeting

9 years ago
Duration 2:19
Terwillegar residents say they are concerned with the lack of information about the housing project.

Terwillegar residents are voicing their frustration about a future housing development slated for the neighbourhood.

Jasper Place Health and Wellness wants to build a 60-unit complex next to Holy Trinity Riverbend Anglican Church near 14th Avenue and 156th Street in Terwillegar.

Project developers met with the public Thursday night at an open house to outline the project and respond to neighbours’ concerns.

Shauna Hostland, spokeswoman for the group Concerned Terwillegar Residents, says the residents’ concerns are not a case of NIMBY or "Not in my backyard" – but with the lack of information.

Although the plan has been in the works for three years, residents in the area first heard about it only a few weeks ago, and say details about the proposed project have been vague.

"There's been no clear definitive answers in regards to what to expect and what is involved with this project and that's where a lot of our frustration lies," said Hostland.

"No consultation, no community involvement, no questions answered clearly and an extremely isolated location. There's other locations in the city that would be much better," she added.

But project developer Murray Soroka, who was on hand to hear residents’ complaints last night, disagrees.

"From my point of view, there's great services in the area, one of the nicest leisure centres, shopping centres, medical clinics, there's a bus stop just down the street."

Staff at the Holy Trinity Riverbend Church are supporting the proposal as part of the city’s 10-year plan to end homelessness.

"The Church and the faith communities are involved in something called 'a place to call home' [where] we can support people trying to have their first home," said Bishop Jane Alexander. "And so, for us, we had the land and this was a way of saying [it] could be part of our role in this to make some land available for this project."

However, some residents are angry the proposed building is being called a homeless shelter when in fact it will offer low income housing.

Prospective tenants will be screened and pay rent to live in the facility.

"The tenants who are approved for housing in this complex actually have to have jobs because they do have to pay rent on a monthly basis," said community member Heather Nesbit. "The difference being is that the rent that they're paying is below what would be considered current market value."

A second open house will be held next Thursday to continue the discussion.