First Light at Marine Drive or Lot 13, a proposed 33-lot affordable housing development in Ucluelet, cleared a major hurdle last week.
During the Oct. 13 regular meeting, mayor and council unanimously voted to approve the development permit (DP) for the 3.7-acre parcel of land near Brown’s Beach on the Wild Pacific Trail.
Island-based developer and president of ACMC Holdings Ltd. Andrew McLane said getting the nod from council is a big win for his team.
“Walking out of the room after getting the approval was a huge ray of emotions. It’s been two years and a lot of work and a lot of people that have been a part of it. It all came together in one approval and it’s just fantastic,” he said.
“Weyerhaeuser stuck it out as well. They have been great to work with,” McLane went on to say. With the DP approved, Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd. can now transfer ownership of Lot 13 to ACMC Holdings.
McLane told the Westerly that 11 of the 33-modular homes coming to First Light are earmarked as rentals for qualified people living on the West Coast. Monthly rent for a one-bedroom is set at $875 and a two-bedroom is $1550.
“This is obtainable housing. This is for locals who have been here and work here and play here and live here. This is not something outside people can buy. This is for people who live and work on the West Coast,” said McLane.
In a letter to district and council received Oct. 7, 2020, McLane also makes the following commitment:
“We have decided that during these times, we will be offering for one family in need, one years free rent in one of our units. This family will be chosen with the help of Margaret Morrison, director of the Westcoast Community Resources Society,” states McLane.
“Additionally, we will be matching a down payment for one purchaser who is just on the cusp of qualifying for a purchase,” his letter concludes.
Mayor Mayco Noel said a housing committee will be established over the coming months to work with the developer to vet all the applicants that come in.
“That’s going to be the tough choice. I’m going to look at the hour glass and there is going to be more than 33 people looking to rent or to purchase,” said Noel.
Once a Preliminary Layout Assessment (PLA) is issued for the subdivision and a disclosure statement is registered with the Province, pre-sales and marketing the lots can begin, notes McLane. He expects to have three show homes on the property in early 2021.
To date, McLane said he has received over 100 emails from people interested in buying one of the freehold lots. McLane and the District of Ucluelet are pursuing a partnership with the Affordable Home Ownership Program (AHOP) delivered by BC Housing. AHOP provides the opportunity for qualified applicants to purchase Lot 13 units for 10 per cent below market value, notes McLane. According to a district staff report to council, BC Housing is currently unable to provide a letter or participate in a meeting on a development proposal until after the upcoming Provincial election.
As assurance that First Light at Marine will be complete within three years, the District of Ucluelet has entered a covenant agreement with the developer that gives the District the option to purchase Lot 13 for $1 per future lot. Furthermore, council approved a motion to support the development with $320,000 of municipal coffers payable once the final occupancy permit for the last of the 33-homes is issued.
“Mr. McLane, we wish you nothing but luck and we are counting on you,” said Noel after the DP for First Light was granted.
Anyone interested in learning more about the proposed affordable housing development is encouraged to visit www.firstlightucluelet.com.