<< Back
Wednesday, Jul 13, 2022

Affordable seniors’ complexes help meet residential and accessibility needs in Southern Alberta

Residential housing buildings

The Lethbridge Housing Authority provides safe, secure, and affordable housing for people in need in the Lethbridge region. In 2017, the Authority, with funding by Lansol Ltd., sought to develop affordable, accessible living for senior applicants, as a P3 (Public-Private Partnership) with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The project is part of a $444 million investment through the Canada Alberta Housing Benefit that funds rent support for nearly 35,500 Alberta households.

Lansol Ltd. engaged Associated Engineering to complete outline planning, rezoning, conceptual land-use layouts, preliminary and detailed design of off-site services, permit drawings, civil and electrical design for on-site services, landscape design for the open-space areas, and accessible sidewalk design. We also coordinated with third parties involved in the project, provided construction inspection for civil works, and coordinated geotechnical and testing works and various permits.

The original legal and zoning plan envisioned a high-rise apartment complex and eight duplex condo units along the boundary. The condo units were constructed prior to Lansol acquiring the land. Rezoning for a new land use required public engagement with the existing condo association to change the land use. Approval was required by all of the condo residents, prior to rezoning and subdividing the land. 

The project’s proposed schedule was to complete the Outline Plan amendment, rezoning, subdivision, development permit, off-site services, on-site design, civil construction and building construction within a year. Typically, this process could take upwards of three years. Through our collective and collaborative efforts with the City of Lethbridge Administration, we received timely feedback to fast track the schedule for permits and tender ready drawings packages.

Paved road leading to housing units

The multi-family site was focused on affordable seniors’ complexes, and, as a result, half of the buildings constructed are accessible. Project Manager, Billy Crawford, explains, “Half of the parking was required to be barrier-free to accommodate the accessible housing, which made it a challenge to meet the parking criteria on the limited amount of paved surface. Our project team evaluated innovative land-use options, including strategic building placement and alternative stormwater management solutions to maximize efficient use of the land.” 

“Conventional stormwater management facilities, including ponds, was not viable due to limited space. Our team came up with an innovative approach to create underground stormwater storage by upsizing the minor system pipes.” 

The electrical design was unique for a multi-family development, as it was hosted by one electrical meter in order to minimize administrative costs and offer cost savings in the future, as the units are being marketed as rentals. The team developed a servicing strategy whereby the units were powered from a switchboard on-site, instead of the typical multiple electrical transformers. We serviced all the buildings with deep and shallow utilities, including streetlights, and power plugs to the parking stalls.

A passage way between two buildings

Communication was important in developing and sharing the concepts of the proposed buildings, and key site features. Billy shares, “During construction, our resident inspector, Emilee Kaupp, would regularly check in with residents to answer their questions or concerns related to schedule, construction activities, and temporary utility service shut offs. 

Associated Engineering also worked collaboratively with the home builder, Avonlea Homes Ltd., to deliver a successful project on an unprecedented schedule. To date, the project has received positive feedback from the surrounding neighborhood.

Our key personnel on this project included Billy Crawford, Emilee Kaupp, Kristi Stickel-Burke, Adam McDonald, and Mario Nunez