Friday’s rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of those in attendance at the Key Ceremony to welcome the first two homeowners to the Habitat For Humanity Vancouver Island North’s Lake Trail Road build project.
Dignitaries and volunteers cheered, and tears of joy were shed, as the Ayre and Allen families were given the keys to their new homes.
“Today we (open) two more homes, and we will have 40 by the end of 2020,” said Habitat For Humanity Vancouver Island North executive director, Pat McKenna. “Affordable housing is in a crisis, we know that. It’s so important to get the municipalities aligned in… creating affordable housing, and bringing it on stream with great developers who are willing to build. Those relationships are getting stronger and stronger every day. Thank you to all the municipalities for working together. Affordable housing is … everyone’s responsibility. I think it’s so important that we are all working together.”
Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells reiterated that theme.
“The great thing about Habitat is that it brings people together,” he said. “It’s so rewarding seeing volunteers and future homeowners working together on a common goal, and seeing the excitement from everyone as the construction progresses. Thanks to this incredible effort, two families now have beautiful new homes to call their own.”
“We are providing a safe, decent, affordable place today for these families, to raise their families, and to call this community home,” added McKenna. “And soon they will have eight more neighbours beside them. Today is for them. Today is for our families.”
After blessings on the homes, by Rev. Ingrid Brown (St. George’s United Church) and Pastor Randy Dyck (Courtenay Fellowship Baptist Church) Mayor Wells was given the honour of handing over the keys to the two families.
“It feels wonderful to finally have this day come,” said Ed Allen, who will move into one of the units with his wife, Danielle, and their daughter, Shekina. “I can’t thank everybody enough. it’s been a fun process, an enjoyable process, working with Habitat For Humanity. I look forward to continuing to work with them, to give back to the community that gave so much to us.”
“Words can’t describe how thankful I am to this whole community and everything they have done for me and my family, and all these other families,” said Marla Ayre, a single parent to children Hunter, 9, and Marissa. “It’s been a journey, and here we are.”
Marla said the lesson in generosity is one she and her children will cherish.
“It is such an important lesson, especially for them to learn so young,” she said. “We will always be giving back.”
The next two homes in the Lake Trail development are slated to be completed by spring of 2019. All 10 units will be completed by 2020.
The Comox Valley Record broadcasted the Key Ceremony on Facebook Live. To see the entire presentation, go to the Comox Valley Record Newsroom page.