Committed to Securing Affordable Housing for Hornby Island Residents
Help ISLA create affordable homes for Hornby Islanders
ISLA – Islanders’ Secure Land Association
A Community Land Trust
2016 AGM was a success!
The membership approved the 2016 Business Plan with 98% of the members in favour.
Something to Cheer About!
The Islanders’ Secure Land Association is being granted a significant amount of start up funds from the Comox Valley Regional District, through HICEEC, to move forward on the affordable housing project at Beulah Creek Village. We are also expecting a letter of support for infrastructure funding from HIRRA.
Check out this recent article in the Comox Valley Echo.
We are rolling! Many families await the opportunity to build their modest homes in the new Hornby neighbourhood. Serviced lots will become available in the upcoming year. Finally, some Hornby people, with limited income, will be able to build their own homes on their own land.
We have been thrilled to learn that some generous Hornby people have offered to build a small rental home on the property for secure, year round rentals – no more vacating in the summer months! One potential resident has a family member willing to take out a second mortgage on their own home to assist.
This home-grown solution is taking off. But families need more help getting started.
Many people are not aware that if they own their own homes, they can secure a small loan for someone else with their home as collateral. All the homes built at Beulah Creek are intended to be modest – so that when they sell in the future, they continue to be affordable to those in need. It is feasible that a one bedroom or studio home can be built and supplied with services for as little as $100,000.
We anticipate that the Union Bay Credit Union will be helpful in assisting favourably with financing.
We are able to have up to 1/3-rental homes on the property. We know there is a great need for rentals and these 10 new units will be a welcome addition to the island’s housing stock. Perhaps you are in a position to build a small rental home at Beulah Creek?
Contact me, or any of our Board Members for more information.
Karen Brown – ISLA Cheerleader and Secretary
firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-335-1987
“If any community can rally together to bring about affordable and stable housing for its valued residents and island contributors, it’s Hornby!”
Are you interested in residency at Beulah Creek?
Please fill out the Expression of Interest – Beulah Creek form and mail in. Remember: Beulah Creek Village will have criteria in place for potential residents, including asset restrictions, in harmony with national standards for low-income households. Income and assets will be verified prior to signing an agreement to purchase.
The “Tiny House” Project
Go check it out – the carpenters with Blue Sky Design spent a day finishing all those shingles. Thank you to the team (Tim, Storm and Charlie) for making that happen!
In 2015, ten apprentice carpenters from Hornby built a small eco house. They participated in a six-month long Red Seal Carpentry Foundation training program, offered here for the first time as a pilot project through North Island College. This program was organized and partially funded by HICEEC, in partnership with HIES.
ISLA is grateful to these organizations for their support, and to Katherine Ronan for her efforts in spearheading the program, recruiting students, and designing the compact home. The building itself was financed by ISLA and become available for sale to a future resident. Stay tuned: The house will completed soon and new photos will be on their way!
What is the ISLA project all about?
It’s about a village, a neighbourhood, a community.
It’s here that Hornby residents, earning limited but steady income, can build their own modest and inexpensive homes in a beautiful woodland setting among like-minded neighbours.
These homes will be built on the ISLA property situated on acreage between The Community Hall and The Co-op. Like those island institutions, the nature of the village will reflect the principled values upon which The “Hornby Ethos” was founded – cooperation, caring, social responsibility and democratic decision-making.
Individuals and families will have the opportunity to put down roots and thrive. As a result, all of us on Hornby will benefit. Children can be raised in stable and healthy environments, in turn, increasing and sustaining school enrolment. Reasonable and secure housing provides a future for adults who can focus their energy on developing a life rich in personal, social, cultural and economic growth.
Imagine a common garden or orchard, a central meeting place and BBQ, shared ideas promoting community building – these are but a few of the communal structures envisioned to promote a sense of belonging and common purpose.
The ongoing benefit to Hornby is that this housing will remain permanently within the reach of those with limited but reliable incomes. The public and private dollars invested will be protected in perpetuity.
To maximize the cost efficiencies for homeowners and renters, the proposed plan includes strata titling the properties. This means individual lots will be fee simple; purchasers will have absolute title to their land. Monthly fees will be assessed for the essential support, upkeep and maintenance of the common property for the benefit of all residents.
ISLA Community Update May 2016
Over the last six years, the Islanders Secure Lands Association (ISLA) has been working to develop the 20-acre land trust bordering Beulah Creek to increase affordable, year-round housing stock on Hornby Island. During this period much work was achieved, thanks to volunteer and professional effort and funding from on and off-island sources. Highlights include:
- Founded a non- profit society
- Applied to have a new “Community Housing” zone created by the Islands’ Trust. Our rezoning application, which is linked to the new OCP and Land Use Bylaws, is currently awaiting final Ministerial approval.
- Completed a required Environmental Survey
- Commissioned a required Water Course Report
- Built a Tiny House (In conjunction with the Carpentry Apprenticeship Program)
- Monitored perk test holes for 8 months
- Completed a preliminary hydro- geological report
- Completed a Riparian Area Assessment (RAR)
- Applied for Charitable Tax Status which, if granted, would allow us to issue tax receipts for donations. It will be a year before the government makes a decision on our application.
- Selected a legal framework for land tenure. After weighing several options such as co-ops and corporations we have chosen a nested bare land strata model whereby each residential unit would be on it’s own surveyed lot, which enables residents to apply for bank financing. We plan to develop the property in three separate phases.
- Built a driveway into the area reserved for Phase 1 of the development
- Drilled a well and had it tested for quality and quantity
The organization continues to work as fast as it can to develop a mix of rental and owned structures, with an initial phase of up to 16 homes planned, pending demand and cost feasibility.
This past fall, ISLA continued to move forward with development, and recently cleared just over 2 acres of land in preparation for core infrastructure layout and engineering work. The Courtenay-based firm Wedler Engineering LLP was retained to do a detailed engineering study based on an updated site design and geotechnical analysis. As a result of this work, our business plan has been updated to more accurately reflect cost estimates. While this work is underway, the Board is pleased to keep the community informed on progress and obstacles, and address any questions you might have. We also welcome anyone – from a possible financing interest to a household with housing needs, to contact ISLA to discuss your specific ideas, questions, constraints, or contributions.
Frequently Asked Questions – May 2016
1. When will the project be finally ready and offered to potential residents?
This is the most often asked question. The timing depends on numerous factors, including completion of legal requirements, revised cost estimates, securing of financing, as well as the readiness and level of demand of potential residents. We have, at last, been advised by the Islands’ Trust planning staff that the new zoning for up to 30 lots has been approved. While we cannot provide a firm date, we can confirm that housing opportunities will not be offered until at least the fall of 2016.
2. What will it cost to rent or own?
A number of figures have been circulated over the years, and generally we maintain our intention that the rental units will be comparable to average ongoing rates on Hornby, and that the resident owned units will be priced well below the current low-end of the real estate market. The business plan is proposing that the land be held fee simple. Owners become members of a strata, a self-governing body bound by the rules and bylaws of the Provincial Strata Act. Final rates will be advertised once all engineering, infrastructure, legal, and financing costs are known. The aim of the board has never wavered from its determination to make this development as affordable as possible.
3. If there is a lot of demand, how will ISLA select who gets the homes?
The board of ISLA has worked over a number of years to define criteria for eligibility and priority. More work is still needed on this. Final criteria – to be determined as part of the update to the business plan, may include: income-level thresholds, ability to demonstrate eligibility for financing (for owned houses) or to pay rent (for rentals), length of residence on Hornby, young families, employment/self-employment security, referrals, and other criteria that may be set.
4. There is a rumour of changes in the board, what is happening there?
The Board is currently comprised of Katherine Ronan, Michael McNamara, Helen Grond, Massoud Zadeh, and Han Van Vugt, who joined in September. Tony Wilson, Phyllis Victory and Stan Combs stepped down in the fall of 2015, and we thank them sincerely for all their contributions to the project.
5. Is the organization financially sustainable?
ISLA is land-rich, cash poor. While ISLA owns the 20 acres outright, as with many non-profits, the organization does not benefit from any ongoing regular source of funding. While 83% of residents voted in a non-binding referendum in favour of establishing a tax service for affordable housing and addressing homelessness, this has yet to translate into reliable monies for our organization. Consequently this past summer when we ran low on operational funds we were obliged to trim our overhead and, at the moment, all operational functions are being done on a volunteer basis except for some very limited administrative assistance that HICEEC is providing us temporarily. Fortunately, we were able to secure some infrastructure financing in order to concentrate on the development of the land and getting the lots serviced.
6. What are your options for financing the project?
The organization is currently reviewing options for financing the project. To date, large donations have not been received beyond the land donated by the Weiss family. The current board is currently in discussion with, and weighing the pros and cons of securing funding from BC Housing, Credit Unions, and private philanthropic investors. While some of these funding sources may provide all the financing needs to get the project to completion, they each come with strings attached and impact the viability and affordability of the project over time. The Board currently does not have a preference for the funding model, and is completing due diligence and maintaining open lines on all options.
7. We heard that Peter Wardle is involved, what is his role?
Since September 2015, Peter Wardle has been volunteering his time and expertise as the Project Development Manager. Peter has an extensive background in land and housing development, and has put in place a conventional stepped approach to the project’s development. The Board of ISLA remains the ultimate decision-maker, and the Development Committee of ISLA meets weekly with Peter to update on status, set priorities, and make decisions.
Peter has also helped the project advance by donating the proceeds from the golf gate towards the clearing of the land and has promised to further assist us with private fund raising to underwrite the predevelopment phase.
8. What is the role of other organizations such as the Community Fund, HICEEC, and CVRD in the project?
Each of these organizations has provided funding to ISLA over the past years, and are paying attention and supporting the project’s development. We thank them for their ongoing contributions.
9. Did you organize a community or membership meeting to discuss status, direction, and needs?
Yes. Thanks to Masoud Zadeh and Meredith McEvoy (volunteer), a public meeting was held on January 24, 2016.
10. I have a personal interest in the project, who should I talk to?
|250-335-0168||Katherine Ronan, Chair|
|250-335-0115||Michael McNamara, Vice Chair|
|250-335-1116||Peter Wardle, Treasurer|
|250-335-1987||Karen Brown, Secretary|
|250-335-0370||Han Van Vugt, Director|
|250-335-1702||Masoud Zadeh, Director|
|250-335-2404||Meredith McEvoy, Director|
250-335-1720 Jenessa Tuele, Director
Acting Administrator (HICEEC) Daniel Arbour 250.335.1199