Victoria, BC – After many years of consulting, planning and preparing, the Gulf Islands School District has been given the green light by BC’s Minister of Education to contribute unused district property to the Capital Regional District’s Land Banking and Housing Services for the purpose of creating affordable housing.
For some time the School Board has been considering the development of affordable community housing on School District property adjacent to Phoenix Alternative Elementary School on Drake Road on the edge of Ganges Village, Salt Spring Island. The subject property is approximately 5 acres of the north-eastern portion of this property fronting on Drake Road, with the remaining 7 acres around and to the south of the school retained by the School District for educational programming and for environmental conservation purposes, making this project a potential leader in appropriate and sustainable land use.
By first undertaking environmental and ecological assessments of the property to inform any development, the Board is satisfied that it has found the balance between providing housing opportunities for young families and ensuring that its environmental values are protected and preserved. Funding in the form of grants and loans from the Real Estate Foundation of BC and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has supported work to date and will continue to help with costs in the next planning phase.
The next immediate step is to formalize a relationship whereby the School District authorizes the CRD to act as its agent. The focus will then be on surveying the site, consulting the community, and forming a Board of Education–CRD joint advisory body that will craft a set of filtering criteria for the development. This group will consider important details related to the specific housing need on Salt Spring Island, the style and size of the homes, the size of the development, the phasing of the project, and potential mechanisms that will ensure the homes remain affordable in the future, among the myriad other details related to such a complex project. Once the site is more specifically identified, it could potentially see 30 to 50 housing units, depending on the group’s input.
- 30 - For further information please contact:
Jeff Hopkins Henry Kamphof
Superintendent Senior Manager, Housing Secretariat
School District No.64(Gulf Islands) Capital Regional District