A rendering of the Denman Green plans for the Kirk Road site. Image, DHA/Ronan Design

A rendering of the Denman Green plans for the Kirk Road site. Image, DHA/Ronan Design

Denman Green finds new site for housing

Facing COVID delays, the project reached expiration date on initial site

It’s early 2021, but already the Denman Housing Association’s Denman Green project has seen a couple of plot twists.

Like so many things last year, the affordable housing project faced delays, which unfortunately put it months behind and led to the end of an arrangement with the landowner by year’s end.

“Everything was pushed back, back, back,” says the DHA’s Simon Palmer. “We came up against the expiration of the agreement.”

What followed was some weeks of uncertainty, but the association now has an agreement in the making with another landowner for a plot of land of just over one hectare at Kirk Road near the village core on Denman. The deal will have to be formalized, which will require rezoning through Islands Trust, according to Palmer, who clarified the rezoning application is now going before the trust.

“We went through this with the first lot,” Palmer said.

The move is requiring the transfer of density provisions attached to other properties on the island. A friend of the association, Palmer said, has agreed to transfer a few of these from land plots she owns to the owner of the Kirk Road site so that he can use them to develop other land he has on Denman. The DHA can then take over title on Kirk Road and use it for Denman Green.

The project has been in the works for a few years. The association wants to build a 20-unit complex in two-storey triplexes and quadruplexes that would house, by its calculations, 49 people.

Palmer admits there is much greater demand for affordable housing on Denman than what Denman Green can provide, but it provides a starting point. Both DHA and Islands Trust have conducted studies pointing to the need for more housing on Denman. The DHA study from 2013 found at that time most renters were living in places that were inadequate in some way. On top of this, many were paying more than half of their gross income.

In 2018, Islands Trust completed housing needs assessments for several of its partner communities, including Denman, in order to help governments plan and develop housing strategies. It reiterated similar points raised by Denman’s own study.

“Far too many of our island neighbours have a lack of housing security, with many forced to vacate during the summer season. Others live in substandard housing with serious potential health and safety risks. Others pay unsustainable amounts,” Islands Trust Council chair Peter Luckham said in a news release.

While some of the islands have faced declining populations, the study showed Denman experienced a 6.4 per cent increase from 2006 to 2016 with projections for more, meaning more pressure on the housing situation.

RELATED STORY: DHA takes next steps toward Denman Green housing

In addition to providing homes, the DHA wants Denman Green to live up to its name by making the homes as environmentally sustainable as possible but reducing water consumption through means such as reusing greywater for toilets and making the home produce their own power. It has worked with students from UBC on reusing rainwater for the project. It also has an arrangement with energy efficiency consultant Roger Chayer, Palmer says, to help increase the project’s sustainability standards.

“These buildings are going to be extremely efficient,” he adds.

Elements such as water though were, in part, what caused delays, as DHA had hoped for Island Health approval on the water systems, but the agency was pulled in other directions in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re living on an island where people are water conscious,” Palmer says.

The hope now, he says, is to move ahead with the rezoning and the land transfer. Once that happens, the association expects to work on applications to provincial and federal agencies, such as BC Housing and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, for help with capital costs.

“We can only apply once we get title to the land,” he adds.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

affordable housing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map shows new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 11-17. (BCCDC image)
BCCDC says fresh COVID-19 cases down in most Island Health areas

Nanaimo sees its fewest new COVID-19 cases since mid January

Col. Bryn Elliott is the new wing commander of 19 Wing Comox. Photo submitted
New wing commander at 19 Wing Comox

The ceremony was presided over virtually by the commander of 1 Canadian Air Division.

The new childcare centre on Denman Island opened in April. Photo, Comox Valley Schools
New Denman Island childcare facility opens

The facility offers 20 new licensed care spaces

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
AstraZeneca vaccine appointments fill up fast on Vancouver Island

More pharmacies expected to be added as supply increases

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Euthanasia not the only outcome for Fanny Bay cougar

Conservations officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read