BC Housing is looking for the public’s input on many aspects of the supportive housing project that it is constructing on White Road in Duncan, including the exterior design of the building. Pictured is a graphic of one of the designs under consideration. (Courtesy of BC Housing)

BC Housing is looking for the public’s input on many aspects of the supportive housing project that it is constructing on White Road in Duncan, including the exterior design of the building. Pictured is a graphic of one of the designs under consideration. (Courtesy of BC Housing)

BC Housing looks for public input on Duncan supportive housing project

50-unit building planned for White Road in Duncan

BC Housing wants to hear from the public on the best ways to integrate the new supportive housing units that are planned for 260 White Rd. in Duncan.

A statement from BC Housing said the Crown agency recognizes that the facility, which will contain 50 affordable housing units, is a new kind of housing in the area, and wants the public to be informed and participate in the process as much as possible.

The Crown agency announced last June that it intended to build approximately 100 supportive housing units for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness in the Cowichan Valley.

RELATED STORY: 100 SUPPORTIVE HOUSING UNITS TO BE BUILT IN DUNCAN, N. COWICHAN

BC Housing acquired two sites — 2983 Drinkwater Rd. in North Cowichan and 260 White Rd. in Duncan — to develop what the agency described as “safe, secure housing with wraparound supports”, and construction of the two new buildings is expected to begin in early 2021.

Although BC Housing has the right to build where they want, regardless of zoning bylaws, both municipal councils in Duncan and North Cowichan were aware of the plans, and helped conduct research to determine the best locations for the facilities.

The province purchased the Drinkwater Road site for $976,185 and the White Road site for $663,730 with money from the Supportive Housing Fund.

Both facilities will consist of about 50 self-contained studio units.

Residents will be provided with 24-hour on-site staff and support services, including meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness services, and opportunities for volunteer work.

When the announcement for the housing units was made, BC Housing said it would set up committees in both municipalities to oversee integration of the supportive housing within the community, and address concerns raised as the projects move forward.

RELATED STORY: VIRTUAL INFORMATION SESSIONS TO BE HELD ON HOMELESS HOUSING ON WHITE ROAD

The upcoming consultations at the White Road site are part of that process.

“BC Housing hosted four neighbourhood dialogues on Aug. 11 and Aug. 19 and are working to build on those conversations,” the statement said.

BC Housing is inviting people to virtually attend one of two neighbourhood dialogues on the White Road facility that will be held on Feb. 16, from noon to 1 p.m., and on Feb. 17, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

As part of the dialogues, participants will be introduced to the three operating partners of the housing project; the Cowichan Valley Women Against Violence Society, Hiiye’yu Lelum and the Clements Centre Society.

To register for the dialogues, RSVP to communityrelations@bchousing.org.

Participants in the neighbourhood dialogues will also be given the opportunity to provide input on the design of the building’s exterior.

BC Housing is also conducting an online survey on the project that can be found on its website, and people are also invited to provide questions and comments on the project at communityrelations@bchousing.org.

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