Proposed 24-unit apartment complex in Moose Jaw working through obstacles

 The Chhokar family has lived in Moose Jaw since 1971 and managed nearly 200 rental units since 1994, and wants to add more housing, which could support the community’s many international students.  

Businessman JC Chhokar has been working with city administration since September 2023 to develop a new housing block at 1345 and 1351 Algoma Avenue. 

JC Chhokar and his wife speak to city council about the proposed development project. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

He submitted a zoning amendment application in December asking the city to rezone some lots to R4 core mixed residential district from R3 high-density residential district. This would allow for the creation of a 24-unit apartment complex, including a small commercial — retail/convenience store — component.

According to an April 22 city council report, his project and the application have faced several challenges, such as:

  • Some lots are in flood hazard zones
  • The proposed yard setbacks fail to align with the zoning bylaw
  • Issues exist with parking and access requirements 

Addressing these issues would require Chhokar to reduce the building’s footprint and potentially reduce the number of suits — although this could be avoided if the city relaxed the rear yard setback requirements, the report said.

The other — and more significant — issue the businessman must address is water and sewer capacity, which has taken the longest to resolve and “is the principal cause of the applicant’s dissatisfaction” with city hall’s process, the document continued. 

From Jan. 3 to April 18, Chhokar and city hall — or their respective agents — worked to resolve this outstanding issue, and by mid-April, city administration received a report that addressed the water/wastewater issues and completed the requirements for the rezoning application. 

Administration will send a report to the May 13 regular council meeting recommending that officials approve the application.


Chhokar spoke about his project during the April 22 regular council meeting. 

The businessman explained that he and his family have managed Moose Jaw Apartments and Highland Courts Ltd. — totalling nearly 200 units — for the past 30 years. Furthermore, the family has owned Moose Jaw and Regina Construction Company for 20 years that renovates buildings. 

However, they created a new company in 2019 focused on developing commercial spaces such as pharmacies, fourplexes and duplexes and purchased land to build more rental units. 

The proposed 24-unit apartment complex would be near the corner of Algoma and Laurier, while the company is considering building 80 more units in the future, Chhokar said. The company’s goal is to develop more than 150 multi-unit housing suites — based on need, demand and bylaws — during the next three years.

“We have quite a few houses (we own that) we can redevelop to increase housing in Moose Jaw. There are 26 houses we can demolish and develop multi-unit homes depending on the location and parking requirements,” he continued.

In the short term, the company could demolish three homes directly across the street and construct buildings that provide 60 units to house international students, Chhokar added.

Council comment

“This is a great initiative,” said Coun. Doug Blanc.

While these 24 units will be open to everyone and not just foreign students, Blanc said international youths will likely move there since many live in the area and even walk to Saskatchewan Polytechnic from the Sunningdale area. This apartment building will be closer to the educational institution, while the ground-level convenience store “is just the perfect fit for that location.”

Blanc recalled growing up in Moose Jaw as a child and seeing convenience or grocery stores on almost every corner. Moreover, he remembered coming across five such stores — they no longer exist — while walking downtown to the Natatorium. 

“It’s a good location for everybody … ,” Chhokar agreed, adding the convenience store will be much closer than similar stores on Ninth Avenue Southwest or Main Street.

The next regular council meeting is Monday, May 13. 

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