Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest

Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest

Affordable Housing Trust Fund peaks interest of mayor

Social Planning Cowichan wants to address issues raised by recent CVRD assessment.

Social Planning Cowichan recently released the business case for their proposed Cowichan Valley Regional Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and Mayor Ross Forrest wants to make sure Lake Cowichan is on board.

Housing trust funds, also known as housing reserve funds, are used as a means to assist housing providers and developers with the capital costs of new or renovated projects, ensuring adequate and affordable housing is available to the community. The capital of the proposed trust fund would be contributed by any municipality in the region who opts into the program.

According to the business case, support for affordable housing projects from both federal and provincial governments has dropped over the past two decades, leaving many municipalities and districts to pick up the slack.

Social Planning Cowichan formed a subcommittee, called the Regional Affordable Housing Directorate (RAHD), in 2010. RAHD received a grant from the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) and the Real Estate Foundation of BC last spring, which the recent business case is the first result of.

Similar trust funds have proven to be successful in other regions and cities across British Columbia, such as Kelowna, Richmond, Coquitlam and Abbotsford.

“In our case, the trust fund is better with regional support,” Forrest said, “so developers won’t have an unfair advantage in one community over another.”

According to the business case, taking the regional approach to establishing a housing trust fund would provide municipalities with a more stable source of funding, allowing a stronger focus on long-term goals and priorities.

However, working as a collective would also pose additional risks to the individual municipalities, such as administrative costs, the political will of elected officials as well as public support being low during the initial years in which a sizeable trust fund is still being established.

Another recent report on housing, the CVRD’s 2014 Affordable Housing Needs Assessment, found that despite having slightly lower housing costs than its neighbours, Lake Cowichan’s “housing affordability” rating is similar to the rest of the Valley. This is partly due to a lack of employment within the town’s limits. The report also found Lake Cowichan to be lacking in rental options.

“We could use more housing, we definitely could,” Forrest said. “I’m pretty sure we’re close to capacity for our existing buildings. I’d like to see another apartment or condominium project go up soon.

“I don’t know if [affordable housing] is a bigger priority for council, but it is a priority. It’s something we’re concerned with, though there aren’t enough developers right now for us to worry about affordable housing – we’re worried about housing in general.”

As for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Social Planning Cowichan will soon be undertaking additional dialogue with the other municipalities within the Cowichan Valley before moving forward.

Just Posted

The province has come through with funding for Duncan Manor’s renewal project. (File photo)
Funding comes through for Duncan Manor’s renewal project

Money will come from the province’s Community Housing Fund

The former St. Joseph’s School site will remain an art studio at least into early next year. It will take some time before being converted to an addictions recovery community. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Addiction recovery facility will be all about building community together

Society on a clear path with members’ experiences to provide valuable help

Seniors in the Cowichan Valley are being moved into the new Hamlets. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
New Hamlets in Duncan admitting seniors

Residential-care facility has 88 beds

Police monitor protesters at a blockade in the Fairy Creek area of southwestern Vancouver Island on Wednesday, June 9. (Facebook photo)
Arrests continue to mount at Fairy Creek as protesters complain about RCMP tactics

Number of arrests approach 200 in ongoing southern Vancouver Island logging protest

How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

Most Read