Frequently Asked Questions for Smithers Build
1) What are you building on the site?
The Northern Society for Domestic Peace (NSDP) will be constructing 12 units of housing on the property. They will range from 1 to 3 bedroom, townhouse style units with a central private courtyard. In addition to the housing units NSDP is building a common use space and offices for support staff. The housing and amenity space will sit at the back of the property next to the current Transition House. The front and side will remain green spaces with gardens and a playground.
2) Who will be living there?
NSDP runs programs predominantly for women and children and families in the Bulkley Valley. The Passage Transition House has operated for 30 years at the location and temporarily houses and provides supports to women and women with children who have left violence or are experiencing crisis that requires a safe home in which to stay. The New Build will service the same population we have been supporting for decades, in the same spot - we are simply going to be offering housing that is available for a longer term (18+ months). Everyone living on site will be single women or women with children with half of the units designated for pregnant and parenting young mothers.
3) Will that add a lot more people to my neighbourhood?
Some, not a lot. The current property already houses women and women with children for a shorter term. Sometimes the House is full and sometimes there's only a couple women there. We pride ourselves on running a safe, quiet house that has little impact on the neighbourhood. The New Build will inject some more families into the neighbourhood. There will be 12 units, most will house either a single woman or a mother and infant, a few units will have the capacity to house women with more than one child. The New Build will also have some office space so there will be additional staff on site. Neighbours can expect an increase in density and associated activity of about 25 people. However, due to the nature of the services NSDP offers, the goal of the project is to build a site that is as quiet, safe and non-intrusive as possible.
4) OK, just a few more families, but what about all their visitors and traffic through the neighbourhood?
The operations at the New Build and the nature of the Transition House require the area to be a quiet, safe space for tenants. With that goal in mind, NSDP staff will be regulating who and when people visit the property. There will be occasional group events or family and friends that visit units, but overnight visitors and parties will not be allowed . As always, staff are on site 24 hours a day to provide support and supervision. The main increase in traffic will be women with strollers/young children walking to the park or into town.
5) Urgh! Construction noise!
Unfortunately there is not a lot we can do to mitigate the impacts on neighbouring properties from the construction itself. All efforts will be made to be as unobtrusive as possible and construction will take place during work hours. The project is anticipated to begin sometime in the fall of 2020 and is estimated to take a year. NSDP has an amazing team working on the build and any questions or concerns can be directed to Carol and Airika. If a part of the construction phase is particularly disruptive, please contact us and we will do our best to address your concerns. Remember, our house is right on site so we want the construction to be as quick and painless as everyone else.
6) What about the trees?
We do have some lovely trees on the property and we have tried to preserve as many as we can. Unfortunately, over the years some have had to come down due to rot and safety concerns. The New Build will be happening at the back of the site so most of the low brush and trees in that area will be removed. NSDP has had a tree assessment done and a couple of those trees must be removed anyway as they are now a falling risk due to rot. The majority of the large trees in the front will be staying, however a couple will have to be removed, again due to falling risk. Over the years whenever NSDP has had to remove trees we have tried to replant new ones elsewhere on the property. We currently have a lovely front garden with a variety of trees and we have an extensive landscaping design for the New Build that is designed to look lovely and natural while providing privacy for the site.
7) What is the New Build going to look like?
NSDP will have designs for public viewing in the future but the design period is still ongoing at this time. We can tell you that the New Build will be two stories, with townhouse style units and a common space with offices for staff to provide services to residents (ex: pre natal and parenting support). We are designing the outdoor space to include playground equipment and gardening space. The design of the New Build is intended to:
- tie in nicely with the existing house and surrounding area,
- incorporate state of the art safety and security features,
- accommodate mothers and young children in its layout,
- create a community/family feel environment
- utilize landscaping to provide privacy, soften the look from the street and accentuate the cozy, community atmosphere of the project
8) Is this a safety concern for me as a neighbour?
NSDP has been supporting women and children at the location for 30 years with very minimal disruption to the surrounding neighbourhood. We don't anticipate any significant changes for the neighbourhood other than a small increase in density. Due to the nature of the services we provide to women and children, NSDP takes safety, security and privacy very seriously. Our top priority will always be the safety and privacy of our location and the people on site - by extension that makes us highly invested in the atmosphere of the neighbourhood around us. This Build will incorporate many design elements that are intended for security and privacy but these are not an indicator that the residents pose any risk. We use these features and 24-hour staff out of an abundance of caution and a mandate that we will support our clients to the best of our ability. We have a close working relationship with the RCMP but in 30 years of operating on the site have rarely needed to call on them. If you have safety concerns please contact Carol and Airika.