The proposal is for a three-storey, multi-family building on Second Street. The project received third reading on Dec. 14. Record file photo

The proposal is for a three-storey, multi-family building on Second Street. The project received third reading on Dec. 14. Record file photo

Affordable housing project in Cumberland takes next step

Council gives third reading to rezoning, OCP amendment bylaws

An affordable housing project planned for Cumberland is now a bit closer to getting off the ground.

Council passed third reading of bylaws to amend the official community plan and zoning bylaws that would permit the development of the 22-unit multi-family building on Second Street.

At present, the bylaws for the project cover three adjacent properties at 3339, 3341 and 3345 Second St., though these sites are to become one property.

“They are in the process of consolidating them,” senior planner Karin Albert said at the Dec. 14 meeting

The project has to meet other conditions such as parking access.

“There are a number of conditions that are part of this rezoning,” Albert added.

While Island Health owns the site, the plan is for it to have a lease with the Comox Valley Transition Society and Dawn to Dawn – Action on Homelessness Society to operate the building for a term of up to 60 years.

RELATED STORY: Hearing set for Cumberland affordable housing project

The village started taking community input in recent months, and while some people did express concerns with the site, all members of council were impressed by how people conducted themselves during discussions. The village held a public hearing on Nov. 18.

Coun. Vickey Brown was pleased to see strong community support for the project, adding that even people with concerns made their point in a respectable way.

“A lot of communities struggle when they’re putting in affordable housing,” she said. “I think it goes a long way to keeping our community diverse.”

Others on council described the project as the “right thing to do” and were happy to push the bylaws through third reading.

Mayor Leslie Baird too was impressed with the way community members handled the discussion.

“It could’ve been a very contentious issue,” she said, adding she thinks the concerns of some people will disappear over time. She was also pleased that the project is taking less than the five years that some were expecting.

Coun. Jesse Ketler added that the project grew out of the housing committee on which she sits, saying this proposal really started with finding the right land.

The affordable housing project is to include four two-bedroom, 15 three-bedroom, and three four-bedroom units. According to a staff report, at least 70 per cent of the units are to be rented at no more than “rent geared to income,” meaning mortgage/rent payments plus taxes are to cost no more than 30 percent of total income.

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