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City councillors in Vancouver have approved rezoning for what is described as a state-of-the-art social housing and withdrawal management centre.

In two days of public hearings, more than 50 people spoke for and against the development that combines 90 social housing units, the withdrawal centre and a social enterprise space.

The project now moves to the development permit phase.

If approved, construction could begin as early as 2020 at the east Vancouver site in the city’s Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood.

A news release from the city says it’s working alongside the provincial government and Vancouver Coastal Health “to address the urgent need for housing and health services in the city through the development of this project.”

Rezoning was approved just as BC Emergency Health Services announced that paramedics in Vancouver responded to 57 overdose calls on Thursday, the second highest number of calls in a single day since B.C. declared a public health emergency in the overdose crisis.

The withdrawal management centre will include up to 20 transitional units for addiction treatment addressing the need for more services offering withdrawal care.

The 90 units of housing will serve low-to-moderate income residents, including families, singles, people with disabilities and seniors.

“Basing (withdrawal management) centres like this in residential communities is a safe model which helps people who access the centres remain integrated in their communities,” the release says.

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