Ucluelet shows early support for affordable housing project

“It’s important to me to give everybody a little patch of grass.”

For West Coasters long wishing for a home to call their own, there is first light at the end of that affordable housing tunnel.

Ucluelet council recently indicated preliminary support for a proposed affordable housing development at Lot 13 on Marine Drive, located across from Brown’s Beach and a short walk to the Ucluelet Community Centre.

First Light at Marine Drive, a development by realtor Andrew McLane of ACMC Holdings, will create 33 micro-lot dwellings solely for people living and working on the West Coast. There will be no Airbnb options nor will they sell to any investors.

Clearing the 3.7 acres piece land will hopefully start this May 2020, once the rezoning is approved, says the developer.

“We are hoping to keep these in the low $200,000’s, but maybe even cheaper for smaller square footages. Everyone who buys will own their land 100 per cent,” McLane said.

His vision for First Light is more linear than the typical jammed pack apartment buildings one might see in a more urban setting.

The developer plans on bringing in pre-manufactured modular homes from Penticton, B.C. Initial design concepts include storage sheds on each unique lot, plus lots of dedicated park land and a covered common hang out area.

“It’s important to me to give everybody a little patch of grass,” said McLane.

Ucluelet real estate agent Judy Gray connected McLane with Weyerhaeuser Company Limited, the original developer to own the affordable housing site, a couple years ago. Lot 13 was earmarked by the District of Ucluelet for affordable housing, and McLane intends to fulfill that obligation with his proposed cottagey micro-home community.

“Andrew’s plan is a great plan and will provide some affordable homes for the people in Ucluelet who are looking for something that is within their budget. The average price for a single family home in Ucluelet is now running in the low $500,000 range,” Gray said in an email to the Westerly.

“It is a struggle for empty nesters and seniors to find a smaller home on a single level. We have lost several singles and couples from the community because there are so few options available. There are also several singles in the community that would far prefer to live in a single family home over a condominium,” Gray wrote.

McLane said he has a funding commitment from BC Housing and will pursue the Affordable Home Ownership Program (AHOP) stream. He believes First Light at Marine Drive will likely be a freehold over strata. Some rental units in the low $750/month mark are also in the development plan.

Ucluelet’s mayor and council are clearly on board with the affordable housing project.

“There is an appetite here at this council to see these kind of things go on and not see this be 2025 and still going in circles,” said mayor Mayco Noel during the Nov. 26 regular meeting.

“Staff and our CAO are very clear that this as an important initiative for our community, and they are just a phone call away. If there is anything that we are gonna need, we are going to support our staff to execute this in a timely, proper manner that’s environmentally friendly. It’s going to benefit the region. To us, there should be nothing fearful from this application. As long as we check off a few more boxes, we should be all good,” said Noel.

McLane said his team has gone through great lengths to protect the stream and old growth trees while still keeping privacy from neighbours.

Anyone interested in learning more can visit the landing page firstlightucluelet.com. For Tofino and Ucluelet residents wanting to be placed on the list, email: info@firstlightucluelet.com.


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