Drop In launches online campaign for Centre 4800
Community opposed to affordable housing proposal
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With less than a month to go before an appeal is heard, the Calgary Drop In Centre is launching a new campaign in support of Centre 4800.
The controversial plan to turn an old hotel in the Greenview Industrial Park into affordable and supported housing was turned down by the Calgary Planning Commission, but the Drop In has since gone to the Calgary Development Appeal Board.
In the run-up to the appeal hearing, The Drop In has launched a digital campaign to gather signatures on a petition and sway public support on the issue.
Debbie Newman, executive director of the Drop In, said there needs to be an educational campaign to let people know about the desperate need for affordable housing.
As for the cost of that campaign, which includes online advertisements, Newman said the money is coming from the Drop In’s rental income.
“People seem to think it's donors' money that’s going to offset these things, but our board approves budgets,” she said. “It’s not coming out of the taxpayer or the government funding.”
Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu said the project is not right for the community. He said initially the Thorncliffe Greenview Community Association was ready to hear the Drop In’s proposal, but trust was eroded over time as plans changed.
“Thorncliffe Greenview is already to the saturation point of affordable housing,” said Chu. He added that in city planning, putting more than 40 units of affordable housing in one place is considered a bad idea.
Newman said the project currently has 79 units. The plans now call for each unit to have a kitchen.
The original plan was for 120 single-unit rooms, but the Drop In has been trying to adapt to concerns from city planners and the community.
Newman has faith that the Development Appeal Board will allow the project when it meets on March 22.
“We’ve received a lot of online support,” she said. “Housing is a need for everyone no matter who you are.”