CVRD Affordable Housing Report reveals cost, safety needs in Lake Cowichan

Standards of Maintenance: Adopting a bylaw to ensure safe living spaces could also decrease the affordability of rental units.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District recently undertook a region-wide study, examining both the housing situation and needs of each community within the Valley.

While housing rental and sale prices in Lake Cowichan are, on average, lower than in other towns in the Valley, the affordability challenges residents face is very similar.

Rather than a gross cost for monthly rent, affordability is calculated by comparing this cost with an individual’s income. This means that while a $879 rental, the average in Lake Cowichan, would be considered affordable for a couple each earning the median income of $30,000 per year, the same rental would be considered unaffordable by a single occupant earning the same income, as living costs surpass 30 per cent of annual income. While low-income seniors are especially challenged by finding affordable rental housing, the problem surpasses the population, affecting many families as well.

Additional problems are presented for local residents, as costs related to transportation and electricity tend to be higher for those living in Lake Cowichan.

As for safety, Lake Cowichan was shown to be on par with other municipalities in the CVRD, meaning that seven per cent of homes were in need of major repairs in order to live up to safety standards, with surveyed residents reporting issues with mould and poor insulation.

Ensuring that all rental units live up to safety standards, though, also carries the chance of increasing affordability issues. Particularly in the case of more extensive repairs, a high investment could be necessary to ensure the building lives up to safety standards. If the Town of Lake Cowichan were to implement a Standards of Maintenance bylaw, they could run the risk of only making the situation worse for low-income residents.

“Ultimately, it would be up to the municipality to decide whether or not to adopt a bylaw and how prescriptive such a bylaw should be,” Ann Kjerulf, senior planner for the CVRD, said. “This should be determined through a public consultation process and discussion with perhaps tenants and landlords within the community.”

Currently, according to the CVRD Housing Report, there are 16 families in Lake Cowichan receiving rental assistance.

Both the Town of Lake Cowichan and the CVRD, as well as all other municipalities in the Valley, have made steps towards making housing more affordable through the use of community plans and zoning bylaws. Local governments have also worked to support Social Planning Cowichan and the Regional Affordable Housing Directorate, which provides “ready-to-rent” classes for tenants, rental asistance to families facing eviction and advocacy on behalf of the region’s homeless population.

The next step for the Town of Lake Cowichan, said Kjerulf, would be to establish a Housing Action Plan — a a strategy to address Lake Cowichan’s housing gaps and needs.These plans typically identify specific opportunities for affordable housing, such as land owned by local government that could be developed into affordable housing.

Just Posted

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Mariah Segee (centre) was named 2021 Lady of the Lake last Saturday, with Megan Rowbottom (left) as first princess, and Macey Anderson (right) as second princess. (Submitted)
Lady of the Lake returns to Lake Cowichan

Mariah Segee takes the crown in first pageant since 2018

Darren Campbell's truck was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch (pictured) on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
UPDATE: Cowichan Bay Good Samaritan’s stolen truck recovered

‘Very much appreciated the help from so many people. I hope the very best for all of you’

Threads N Tails owner Lee-Ann Burke’s pet clothing has been featured on the cover of the June/July issue of Pet Connection Magazine. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan business featured on magazine cover

Lee-Ann Burke hopes the extra publicity will increase sales

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read