Saturday, June 22, 2024
June 22, 2024

Drake Road plans shift 

A long-languishing supportive housing project on Salt Spring Island has a new timeline, will help more people than previously planned, and will include new units of affordable housing.  

Among what is now 36 total units planned for BC Housing’s project at 161 Drake Road, 32 will be supportive housing — and four will be “affordable rental housing for low- to moderate-income residents,” according to a letter to staff published as an appendix to the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) Hospitals and Housing Committee agenda Wednesday, April 3.  

BC Housing had announced in 2022 it would build 28 units of supportive housing at the 5.5-acre parcel back in January of 2022; the province used its authority under the Interpretation Act — commonly known as “statutory immunity” — to bypass the local zoning process, predicting an opening date for the facility that summer.  

But new details on the project, including plans for new construction, an elevator to increase accessibility and air-conditioning for all units, indicate an updated project schedule, showing plans for development by Vancouver Island-based Muchalat Group and opening the new homes “before the end of 2025.”  

“Using new construction also allows us to increase the number of units from 28 to 36,” read the letter from to BC Housing Vancouver Island Regional Development director Sarah Smith, “providing eight additional homes for vulnerable Salt Spring Island residents.”  

The four new “affordable” rental units will be ground-oriented, according to Smith, adding those would have a separate entrance from that for the supportive housing units.  

Salt Spring CRD Director Gary Holman called the delays to date “frustrating,” but said he was pleased with the planned improvements — despite promises of much earlier completion.  

“And in the end, I believe the over 30 units of housing with ongoing supports for our most vulnerable will be hugely beneficial for our community, for which I’m very grateful,” he added. 

No rental rates for the affordable units have been announced. 

BC Housing did publish a new rendering of what is now a three-storey building, along with other updates, to letstalkhousingbc.ca/salt-spring-island-supportive-housing

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