THC boardmember Melody McLorie and Tofino’s acting mayor Coun. Duncan McMaster visited 700 Sharp Road on Friday morning where construction is set to begin on a 14-unit affordable housing development (Andrew Bailey photo)

THC boardmember Melody McLorie and Tofino’s acting mayor Coun. Duncan McMaster visited 700 Sharp Road on Friday morning where construction is set to begin on a 14-unit affordable housing development (Andrew Bailey photo)

Affordable housing project underway in Tofino

Tofino Housing Corporation breaks ground at Sharp Road.

The Tofino Housing Corporation’s first affordable housing project is about to get underway.

Shovels will hit the ground this month to begin construction on a 14-unit housing development at 700 Sharp Road through a partnership between the THC and Catalyst Community Developments.

“We’re excited to finally be moving in the right direction,” THC board member Melody McLorie told the Westerly News at the soon-to-be construction site on Friday. “As someone who has lived here for almost 30 years, Tofino needs housing and we all know that. It takes a long time to make it happen, so it’s exciting to actually be taking those steps forward.”

The construction menu includes four one-bedroom units, four two-bedroom units and six three-bedroom units, all of which will be available to rent monthly with priority given to residents living and working in the region.

Once built, one-bedroom units will be available to residents with a household income of under $55,000 and will be rented at $875-$1,125 a month. Two bedroom units will be available to residents with a household income under $81,000 and rented at $1,100-$1,550 per month. Three bedroom units will be available to residents with a household income under $91,000 and will be rented at $1,220-$1,725 per month.

The units will be owned and operated by Catalyst Community Developments, a non-profit society that is contributing building expertise and financial equity to the project.

“Catalyst is very excited about being one step closer to delivering these homes,” said Catalyst president Luke Harrison. “Thank you to the Tofino Housing Corporation and the District of Tofino for their contributions.”

The municipally-owned land at 700 Sharp Road is being leased to Catalyst for free, though the district has retained the right to purchase and operate the development in the future.

“It’s important to take a step…It’s not the solution, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Tofino’s acting mayor Coun. Duncan McMaster told the Westerly. “Is it going to solve all the problems? No, but we are moving forward and something’s getting done for once. It’s not going to make everybody happy, but it’s a start…We’ve been waiting for so long for affordable housing in this town. I’ve been talking about it ever since I got on council almost 12 years ago and nothing’s happened. This is going to be the first rentals that have been built that I know of for probably 15-20 years or more and we all know there’s a shortage of rental accommodations.”

McMaster added that the project could not have come together without committed efforts made by Tofino’s former mayor Josie Osborne and Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns as well as passionate community leaders, like the late Dorothy Baert.

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READ MORE: Tofino housing project clears zoning hurdle

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