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Expired · 11th November 2015
Maureen McDowell
Over 100 Quadra Islanders wanting better housing options attended a Community Housing Meeting last Monday night at Quadra Recreation Centre. They learned that, after thoroughly assessing several properties in the Village centre, the Joint Housing Committee has chosen the 26-acre TTT Property (bordering the Cove Centre and the Coastal Community Credit Union properties). The Joint Committee, comprised of community members and reps from Quadra Island Seniors Housing and Quadra Circle Societies, decided that the TTT parcel is best able to meet the housing needs of both young and aging Islanders from all income groups.

Given that BC seniors-care facilities don't meet the present and future needs of seniors in rural, remote communities very well – a Quadra-style solution is required. The Committee's January 2015 Seniors Housing Needs Survey results showed that the vast majority of the 264 respondents aged 55+ want to stay on Quadra 'to the end of their days' if possible. The survey returns, with an estimated 50% response rate, clearly point to the need for at least 67 units of affordable supportive housing for the Island's low-income seniors, both singles and couples, within the next 5 years. A second urgent need mentioned, but not included in the seniors survey, is the critical shortage of affordable rental units and small 'starter' homes for young workers and their families. The majority of Quadra seniors are couples in good health, with comfortable incomes, who want to down-size to small homes, adding in meals and housekeeping services as needed. A welcome surprise in the Survey results was the strong interest by 72 respondents in buying small 'city-sized' lots in the village area for building small homes for themselves or their adult children. The sale or lease of these small lots can help offset the cost of the whole project.

David Rousseau, an architectural and green-building consultant who volunteered his services to the Committee, explained how the official Quathiaski Cove Village plan supports the use of TTT Property for a seniors supportive-living residence and small lots. His 3-phase model showed how the project could grow gradually over the years. It emphasizes the sensitive development of the acreage to ensure parkland and riparian protected areas for public trails interspersed with higher density forms of housing close to the village core and single-family homes near the periphery.

Jim Abram, Area C representative to the Strathcona Regional District, spoke enthusiastically about how the proposed project would preserve the land as a community legacy and is important to the long-term vibrancy of Quadra. Island businesses and young professionals need housing for their employees and themselves; seniors need trades people, care-workers, businesses and services so they can age-in-place and thrive in a multi-generational community. Russ Hotsenpiller, SAO of Strathcona Regional District, emphasized the SRD's willingness to partner in this community project. For example, Park funds can create several community parklands within the project, and the SRD will expedite procedures such as new Official Community Plan.zoning designations.

John Jessup, the Committee's Development Consultant, explained that CMHC and BC Housing can assist with grants for the pre-planning studies required, and that BC Housing can obtain preferred-rate, insured mortgage financing for construction (and post-construction) for the social housing component.

The Committee met the next day to plan next steps and capitalize on offers of volunteer expertise. A Finance task group is fund-raising to buy TTT Property with the help of community donors and those willing to provide low-interest 'bridge-financing' loans. Property development partners are being sought. The Strathcona Regional District is preparing to partner with the non-profit supportive housing society and private developers in this leading-edge project. Regular updates will go to the public and the Interest list of 100-plus folks. For details or to help out contact Maureen McDowell (250) 285-2221, mcboasgicable.com or Mary McIntosh (250) 285-3084.
100 today, 1000 tomorrow
Comment by Walker Evans on 15th November 2015
Everybody always wants more but they want somebody else to pay for it. How's that going to work ?