Two affordable housing projects moving ahead

A plan for two new affordable housing projects on land owned by the Municipality of North Cowichan has taken another step forward.

A plan for two new affordable housing projects on land owned by the Municipality of North Cowichan has taken another step forward.

The Community Land Trust Foundation of BC recently provided an update on a feasibility study it is preparing to North Cowichan’s council on two innovative and affordable housing initiatives in the community that ensured the projects will continue.

The municipality entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Land Trust Foundation in July to explore affordable housing options on the two local properties.

The first is at 9800 Willow St. in Chemainus where the municipality and the CLTF envision the construction of a mixed-use building with commercial units and community space on the first floor, and approximately 18 units of affordable housing for seniors in its upper floors.

The other is located at 3191 Sherman Rd., where 64 affordable housing units are planned, with 12 of the units to be designated as supportive transitional housing for the Cowichan Women Against Violence Society.

Together, these projects will create a range of housing types, from studio to three-bedroom options.

Under the cooperative model established by the municipality and the CLTF, North Cowichan will lease the properties to the Land Trust at nominal costs, and the CLTF will assume the financing and construction costs of the developments.

Through a long-term lease, the Land Trust will own and maintain the buildings on each site.

While rental prices are subject to refinement, monthly affordable rental costs for the units are estimated to range from $375 for supportive transitional housing, to $1,100 for three or four-bedroom units.

Consultations with key stakeholders are already underway and, as the process unfolds, public information meetings will be held to share information and details, and to seek public input on the proposed plans.

Tiffany Duzita, director of development with the CLTF, said it’s “been exciting” to work with North Cowichan on the project.

“By making this long-term commitment in the community, both organizations can play a key role in ensuring that the community’s residents will have access to affordable housing options well into the future,” she said.

“The CLTF is pleased to be able to be partnering with North Cowichan on this initiative.”

North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure added that the housing projects “contribute significantly” towards filling the need for affordable housing in the community.