An artistic rendering of Tofino’s proposed 84-unit affordable housing project. (Tofino council agenda image)

An artistic rendering of Tofino’s proposed 84-unit affordable housing project. (Tofino council agenda image)

Affordable housing project advances in Tofino

Proposal includes 72 units and three duplex townhouses with secondary suites.

A development being clamoured for by those affected by Tofino’s housing crisis recently took another step towards fruition as the town’s municipal council again endorsed an 84-unit residential housing project on district-owned land.

Council gave first reading to a zoning amendment on March 10 that would allow the Tofino Housing Corporation and Catalyst Developments to develop two, three-storey, apartment buildings with a combined 72 units as well as three duplex townhouses, each with secondary suites—12 units—at 351 Arnet Rd.

The apartments would be rented at below market rates and only available to applicants who fit under specified household income thresholds, according to a report presented to council by district planner Peter Thicke.

Studio apartment monthly rents will be set at $375-$875 per month and limited to applicants with household incomes under $38,500. One-bedroom units will rent from $375-$1,100 a month and be available to applicants with household incomes under $48,500. Two-bedroom units will rent from $570-$1,350 for applicants with household incomes under $59,400 and three-bedroom units will rent from $660-$1,950 and for applicants with household incomes under $85,800.

Prior to approving first reading of the rezoning amendment, which they did unanimously, council heard from the Tofino-Long Beach chamber of commerce executive director Jen Dart who said she was speaking on behalf of the chamber’s board and over 325 businesses that hope to see the project realized.

Dart said the chamber recently met with local business owners and “heard about the desperate need” for housing.

“Many of them, not just the smallest of businesses but larger ones as well, simply can’t continue to operate under these conditions; these are staffing shortages related to housing shortages,” she said.

“Of course, it’s not just businesses, but local families that need more suitable housing in the community. You’ve all heard the stories of babies being born to families living in staff accommodation because they can’t find anywhere else to live…Individuals who want to make Tofino their home and represent our volunteers and leaders of the future also can’t find anywhere to live. It’s our opinion that a mix of housing is needed to address Tofino’s housing challenges and this development is a key part of that solution. So, again, I would urge you on behalf of our organization to move this development forward as quickly as possible.”

The project is being led by the Tofino Housing Corporation, which lists the District of Tofino as its sole shareholder and will be managed and operated by Catalyst Developments.

“It’s taken us a long time to get to this point and for some people in the community too long, but sometimes things do take time,” said the THC’s interim executive director, Ian Scott. “I don’t think what we’re doing on below market affordable housing is the only thing that needs to happen…All the evidence, not only from this community, but from communities across B.C. and particularly in resort communities, is that housing is a challenge that needs to be worked on and needs to be worked on continuously.”

He suggested rising rental costs and low availability are causing employee shortages at local businesses and leading to overcrowded staff accommodations as well as an increase in campsites being used as housing within the district.

He added that council’s endorsement of the project would help the corporation’s chances at securing a grant from BC Housing.

“We’re at the place where, with the rezoning, we’ll be able to proceed through the process on the community housing fund with BC Housing,” he said.

“Through the next funding call that we all expect to come within a few months, we’ll be able to secure that large investment in this community in housing that allows us to deliver significantly below market rents as well as some close-to-market rents; a nice mix of rents within the buildings…Without the rezoning, that investment is not going to come to this community.”



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ: District of Tofino wins court case against illegal vacation rentals

READ: Ucluelet shows early support for affordable housing project

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

Just Posted

Nuu-chah-nulth language champion Tim Masso holds his Rainy Coast Arts Award. (Jessie Masso photo)
Masso and Wenstob receive 2020 Rainy Coast Arts Award

Tla-o-qui-aht brothers share Pacific Rim Arts Society honour

Pamela Evans gazes lovingly at her four-year-old French bulldog Jack on Thursday, Nov. 5. The energetic young pup has regained his usual rambunctiousness after recently recovering from a significant illness brought on by consuming discarded cannabis new Brown’s Beach in Ucluelet. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Discarded cannabis a “frequent” threat to pets in Tofino-Ucluelet

“I couldn’t grab him fast enough to get it out of his mouth before he swallowed it.”

The School District 70 administration office in Port Alberni. AV NEWS FILE PHOTO
Four Alberni schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

Exposures occurred between Nov. 19 and Nov. 25 depending on the school

A lightning strike destroyed a radio repeater on Porter Mountain, shutting down the Ministry of Transportation and infrastructure’s highway cam at Sutton Pass. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure photo)
Lightning strike shuts down camera on Tofino-Ucluelet highway

“One of our radio repeater sites was recently struck by lightning.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Most Read