Redevelopment plans for First United Church do not include an affordable-housing component

Redevelopment plans for First United Church do not include an affordable-housing component

No affordable housing in plans for White Rock church site

Affordable housing is no longer on the table in plans to redevelop White Rock's First United Church site

Details of redevelopment plans for White Rock’s First United Church site are still being ironed out, but those who have been involved in the discussions have confirmed affordable housing is no longer on the table.

“We would’ve hoped it would (be), but unfortunately, that has not materialized,” said Jean Kromm, a member of the church’s Futures Committee that has been working on the redevelopment plans since 2011.

It’s “no longer in the cards,” she said.

Discussions around redevelopment of the church, located at 15385 Semiahmoo Ave., were spurred by concerns with its long-term financial sustainability.

Former minister Joan McMurtry told Peace Arch News in November 2013 that redevelopment options identified through a feasibility study favoured two scenarios, both of which would result in a significantly smaller church facility combined with residential units; the only difference between the two was whether those units would be rental or market housing.

Kromm, a former White Rock resident, said Thursday that the decision around the affordable-housing aspect was the developer’s.

She was hesitant to share other details of the plans before an application is submitted to the city – a move that’s hoped to occur “sometime before the end of February.”

And while the timeline for redevelopment remains unclear, Kromm confirmed this is likely the last year that the current facility will host the annual Christmas Day Dinner. The festive feast, run by volunteers, has fed hundreds every Dec. 25 for more than three decades.

“If what we’re being told is even close in terms of the (redevelopment) timeline, then this December will probably be the last Christmas Day Dinner at the present church,” Kromm said

The church has been in the community for more than a century, and in its current building since the 1950s.

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