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General News · 23rd October 2019
Hayley Newell
We hope to see you on Monday, October 28th for the fuller discussion on the Rainbow Ridge rezoning application.

Details for the Open House:

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.

In the meantime, here are some answers to your important questions:

Why is CISS applying to rezone a portion of 965 Beasley Rd (now referred to as Rainbow Ridge)?

Our proposed rezoning would allow for the development of up to 20 units, plus the possibility of 2 flex studio units of affordable rental housing on a newly subdivided lot. The housing 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 hectares or 1 acre dedicated as a public road.

Does Rainbow Ridge have enough water to sustainably support 20 units of housing?

Yes. We have worked with Hydrologist Allan Dakin. His report documents that the hydrogeology of the area is comprised of a relatively deep layer of Quadra Sands. The main aquifer in these sands is recharged by Hague Lake and has excellent water quality, low risk of contamination and has significant volumes. Drawing water from this aquifer will have no discernable impact on our neighbour’s wells.

How will sewage be dealt with and what impact will this project have on our lakes?

We are working with Ron McMurtrie & Associates who recommend an Advantex Type 2 sewage treatment system, similar to the Cortes Natural Food Co-op (view report here). The Rainbow Ridge drain fields will be located on the furthest western edge of the property over 800 meters away from the lake, where our waste water will be filtered and cleaned underground, with trees and shrubs from the forest taking up the nutrients to insure that this system does not contribute to algae blooms. Our understanding is that given the distance of Rainbow Ridge’s proposed wastewater drainfield, the underground filtered travel and settling path out of the water column, plus the opportunities for plant uptake along the way, in addition to regular testing of water coming out of the disposal fields – that this project will most likely have no impact on the lakes.

This proposal includes clustered housing and duplexes and/or triplexes. Why are you designing for greater density?

Rainbow Ridge is within walking distance of Mansons Landing, the main village centre on Cortes Island. This area is where our Official Community Plan (OCP) “encourages the direction of density for residential and commercial uses in the Mansons Landing area.” By designing a clustered housing development with duplex and triplex buildings, which have a maximum height of 2 stories, we will minimize our neighbourhood footprint, allowing for more significant tree retention and forest conservation than a more widely dispersed acreage pattern with individual cottages.

How will this project affect the rural character of the island?

Concentrating affordable housing, which requires density in order to be affordable, in a village setting amongst the more developed area of Cortes is the best way to preserve our cherished rural way of life. It reduces sprawl and encourages walking as it is close to the shops, services and amenities of downtown Mansons. At the same time we can maintain significant natural spaces and forest throughout the 2 hectare site; approximately 50% of the existing forest area will be retained and buildings will account for only 8% of the site. The current proposal for Rainbow Ridge meets the design principles for a rural village, including connectivity, respect for its natural setting, keeping nature at its edges, central common spaces and compact buildings. The village is the very definition of rural life and it is what this project aims to create.

Does this rezoning set a precedent?

No, any future housing project must come back to the community for approval and rezoning, which would completely depend upon the location and features specific to that new proposal.

Why are you are developing in area established as a recommended Forest Retention zone by the Ecological Site Investigation?

Our proposed rezoning and overall vision for the site is consistent with the overall recommendations of the Ecological Site Investigation. We need to balance our ability to achieve forest conservation on this residential zoned property with the desire to cluster housing close to existing services for ease of access and to keep the development costs down, allowing us to build affordable housing.

What is the plan for the rest of the remaining land?

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

More questions? Come to the Open House on October 28th to ask them. Or, email us at:

Details for the Open House:
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.

Thank you from your Housing Committee.