Habitat for Humanity eyes next Courtenay build; Lake Trail project still targeted for 2020 completion

Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North (VIN) has applied for rezoning to construct a multi-residential development on Piercy Avenue. The non-profit hopes to build a trio of four-unit townhomes.

The property was sold in September of last year for $445,000.

“We are very excited to continue building community in the Comox Valley,” VIN executive director Pat McKenna said.

This would be the second Habitat build at Piercy Avenue. Six families reside at an intentional community built several years ago at 1580 Piercy Ave.

The current Habitat build, on Lake Trail Road, is more than 80 per cent complete.

The 10-unit community already has eight families living there, with the foundation poured for the final two units.

“When we shut everything down [due to COVID-19) literally the last thing we did was take the forms off of the foundations,” said McKenna. “So we are probably going to start back up in June … probably be limited volunteers, but we may open up to key volunteers. And obviously all the safety measures will be in place.”

When the construction resumes, it will be done with the distancing rules intact, which will further delay in the completion.

“Our original plan was to finish in September. Now we are looking at October or November, but our goal is still to finish up the [Lake Trail] builds in 2020.”

McKenna said the pandemic not only put construction to a halt; it also shut down Habitat’s most relied-upon cash flow source – the Restores.

When the Courtenay and Campbell River Restores both closed, in March, it created an instant void in money flow.

That issue has been rectified to some extent, with the virtual reopening of the stores, at habitatnorthisland.com/restore.

“Our Restores are the ones that drive the cash into the charity, for the builds,” said McKenna. “We do have a bunch of grants in the bank still, from some generous donors who have helped us, but we still need cash. The online stores are one way to do that.”

Founded in 2004, Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North Society is based out of the Comox Valley. It serves Northern Vancouver Island from Bowser to Port Hardy. As part of their partnership with Habitat, participants contribute 500 hours of volunteer time to the organization.

–With files from Terry Farrell

Comox Valley

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