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General News · 21st October 2019
Hayley Newell
We hope to see you on Monday, October 28th at Mansons Hall for the Cortes Community Housing Open House where further details of our rezoning application will be discussed.

Flow of the evening:

5:30-7:00pm: Open drop-in to review Rainbow Ridge project plans.

7:00-8:00pm: Rezoning presentation by the project team with a question and answer period.

This will be an opportunity to:

- View the final draft project plans including unit plans, unit sizes, expected rents and eligibility.

- Review the conclusions of the technical analysis related to well water, sewage treatment and disposal, ecological overview assessment and rainwater/stormwater management.

- Have your questions about the project answered and provide feedback to the project team.

- Learn how you can help support this rezoning application.

Background

The Cortes Island Seniors Society (CISS) Housing Committee is applying to rezone 2.45 hectares (6.05 acres) of the northern portion of 965 Beasley Rd (now referred to as Rainbow Ridge). This property is 20.76 hectares (51.3 acres) in total.

Our proposed rezoning would allow for the development of up to 20 units of rental housing on a newly subdivided lot. These homes will serve families, seniors and single people who are struggling to find stable and affordable housing.

The proposed lot would be 2 hectares or approximately 5 acres, with an additional 0.45 hectare or 1 acre dedicated as a public road. We propose rezoning from the current R-1 Residential Zone to a new zone, similar to CS-1 Community Services Zone (presently used for Seniors Village Housing, Health Centre Facilities and Community Gardens), which would allow for the proposed multi-generational affordable rental housing. We are also requesting an Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment to a land use designation consistent with the proposed rezoning.

We are seeking your support for this rezoning application for a number of key reasons:

- The well-documented need for affordable rental housing on Cortes Island as per the 2018 Regional Housing Needs Assessment, 2017 LEAP Report, 2013 Housing Survey and 2012 Official Community Plan (OCP).

- Over 100 households have expressed an interest in living at Rainbow Ridge and registered their interest at www.CortesCommunityHousing.org our project website.

- Rainbow Ridge is within walking distance of Mansons Landing, the main village centre on Cortes Island, for which the OCP “encourages the direction of density for residential and commercial uses in the Mansons Landing area.”

- The property overlays a deep, large sandy aquifer with ample high quality water as per our hydrogeologist’s report, which confirms that an additional 20-22 small households will have no discernable impact on neighbour’s wells or long term aquifer capacity.

- The property has soil suitable for in-ground sewage disposal as per the report from our wastewater engineer, which will first be treated by an Advantex Type 2 treatment system, similar to the system currently installed at the Cortes Natural Food Co-op.

- The property is a previously disturbed (logged) site with no sensitive ecosystems within the proposed development area as documented by the ecological site investigation.

- We will implement a progressive rainwater management strategy that will include infiltration of water into the soil, directing water into surrounding forests, cleaning with constructed rain-gardens/wetlands and, if required, infiltration into the deeper sand layers; these strategies will help ensure the development protects our downslope neighbours and Hague Lake from stormwater surges.

- Clustered housing development of 8 buildings configured in a mix of Duplex & Triplex units, will minimize our neighbourhood footprint, allowing for more significant tree retention and forest conservation than a more widely dispersed acreage pattern with individual cottages.

- The remaining 45 acres of the property will be held in trust and be retained for future use as a community asset including a dedicated public trail network.

History

In March 2018, the Cortes Island Seniors Society (CISS) acquired 965 Beasley Road for the purpose of meeting community housing needs. Their Housing Committee has been leading the community consultation, neighbourhood and development planning process. The Cortes Island Foundation assisted us to raise over $1.5 million in local donations, we have also received financial support from the Rural Dividend Fund, Victoria Foundation, CMHC and BC Housing. BC Housing responded positively to our September 2018 application to their Community Housing Fund and has indicated support for the project concept. They are providing financial support at this pre-development stage and have indicated a strong likelihood that the project will be selected the next round of funding (expected in spring of 2020). Our goal is to have the property appropriately rezoned in advance of their next funding call.

Thank you from your Cortes Housing Committee