Affordable housing considered by North Cowichan

Could lead to the construction of affordable housing units in Chemainus and the South End.

North Cowichan has signed a memorandum of understanding with The Community Land Trust of BC, which could lead to the construction of affordable housing units in Chemainus and the South End.

“Council is pleased to enter into this partnership with the Community Land Trust Foundation,” said Mayor Jon Lefebure Aug. 11.

“We know that affordable housing is a pressing issue in our communities, and we feel that a great way to make progress is through creativity and collaboration.”

The Community Land Trust is a non-profit society serving as the real estate development arm of the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC. Its mission is to ‘acquire, create, and preserve affordable housing’ for future generations with a focus on development and redevelopment of co-operative and non-profit housing.

In Chemainus property at 9800 Willow Street, adjacent to a lot slated for construction of a new branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library, is being considered for 5,000 sq. ft. of commercial/office/community space on the first floor and non-market affordable housing on the upper floors.

In the South End a site 1.2 acres  at 3191 Sherman Road is being considered for non-market affordable housing; and another .5 acres for supportive housing in partnership with the Cowichan Women Against Violence Society.

The first step will be for the Land Trust to conduct a feasibility study of the two properties to determine the general form and character of the housing, number of units, and level of affordability.

A 2014 Regional Affordable Housing Needs Assessment conducted by the Cowichan Valley Regional District found that the region lacks affordable housing options for youth, students, low-income families, seniors, and vulnerable groups.

“In North Cowichan specifically, those with the least choice in the housing market are low-income singles and families, and especially single parents,” says a North Cowichan media release.