Riparian Area Report approved

We have passed another milestone – the hydrological engineer submitted his Riparian Area Report to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRO) with a site design plan to protect the area around the pond and the ravine – and it has been approved by the Ministry:   “The Ministry hereby provides notice that this report meets the assessment and reporting criteria for the Riparian Areas Regulation.”  We can now proceed with the site plan as designed for 30 homes and a community building.  Check out the timeline page for more progress and upcoming events.

 

Discussion with home builder

We have been in discussions with a number of potential builders of manufactured homes, modular homes and SIP (structural insulated) panel construction.  After weighing the pros and cons, we have decided the SIP panel method will be the best for our project.  It provides many advantages:   design versatility (including the ability to add lofts), easier delivery, quick assembly of the structure, cost-effective, long-lasting, and the SIP panels are environmentally friendly.

One of the companies that we are currently working with is VersaMod Designs Inc.   Chris Pedersen and Rick have a lot of experience building affordable small homes – including for workforce housing, temporary housing and emergency shelters.  We are also working with Kerry and Donna from  Korolite Engineered Panel Structures Ltd., who are providing the SIP panels.  Korolite is a subsidiary of a larger company Mansonville Plastics, with a large manufacturing facility in Surrey, BC.

The SIPs are a sandwich of metal with built-in EPS insulation (expanded polystyrene), which is an environmentally friendly (no CFCs) & recyclable material.  SIPs are shipped flat, then the structure is assembled.  The walls, floor and roof are all SIPs.  These panels retain their R value over time, unlike walls with fiberglass insulation.  Mansonville Plastics is a recycling depot for EPS;  they manufacture a number of other interesting products such as the growing containers for the reforestation industry.  Korolite is a member of the Canada Green Building Council.

Preliminary home designs are forthcoming and, once available, will be posted on the website.

 

The all-clear

We had a 16-page Archaeological Assessment Report done by Chris Arnett, PhD in August, 2017 and after a thorough examination of the whole property including the ravine, he concluded that “no items of archaeological significance were identified on Lot A, Section 20″.  

 

A major milestone!

We have had a number of productive meetings with our Islands Trust planner Rob Milne in the past couple of months.

During this time we have been working hard to provide all of the necessary information for Rob to be able to write his report and to present our project to the Local Trust Committee.

 

We have accomplished a lot in the past year and we have at least partially addressed all of the major aspects so as to prove the feasibility of the project:

B.2.2.2.3         All rezoning applications for affordable housing projects should include evidence of:

  1. need for the housing.
  2. an adequate water supply for potability and for fire protection.
  3. means of sewage disposal.
  4. energy and water efficient building design.
  5. not degrading a sensitive ecosystem.
  6. not being sited in an area subject to hazardous conditions.

On July 20th we appeared before the Local Trust Committee with our Islands Trust planner Rob Milne.  In his Staff Report he showed that we have addressed all the major aspects and his recommendation was:

That the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee directs staff to prepare draft bylaws for the review and consideration of the Local Trust Committee.

The LTC (Peter Grove, George Grams and Peter Luckham) wholeheartedly supported the recommendation and voted to direct staff to prepare the draft bylaw.  Peter noted that our communication with the trustees along the way has been very good and that he had no questions for us.  George remarked that he agreed and that he would “like to see it move on apace”.

We have passed a major milestone!

Read the Staff Report 20-July-2017

 

Criteria crafted

We had an excellent meeting on July 10th with our committee, including an invited guest, to discuss and refine our criteria for potential Dragonfly Commons purchasers.  We are focusing on creating an affordable neighbourhood for a diverse community of working people on Salt Spring with a range from low to middle-income levels.  To that end, please see the “Who is the Project For?” page for more details.

 

Successful public meeting

We were very pleased with the turnout at our public meeting last Sunday, June 11th.  There were 116 attendees, many positive comments and excellent questions, comments and suggestions.  Fernando Dos Santos presented the overview of the project and then Donald Gunn presented the site plan.  After the question & answer time, committee members offered site tours.

Public Information Meeting – June 11th, 2017 – Press Release

Dragonfly Commons is a local not-for-profit initiative spearheaded by Fernando and Tami dos Santos, with a lot of help and community support, to bring about an innovative solution to our local workforce housing shortage.  The proposal is for home ownership of small homes in an secluded eco-friendly development on Drake Road, walking distance to Ganges.  This 10.5 acre property is owned by the couple, who intend to create up to 30 strata lots, each with a small (500-600 sq ft) house.   

The co-housing style development means that there will be shared infrastructure with a common building for gathering/meeting space, laundry and tool-share.  As well, the site will have a community garden and green spaces.  In the site design, several acres will be undeveloped which include a pond, ravine and mature forests.  Dragonfly Commons is adjacent to Mouat Park, which provides walking trails to Ganges and local amenities. 

Tami and Fernando dos Santos have dedicated a year to planning and developing this non-profit project in partnership with the Salt Spring Island Housing Council and with the generous support of local professionals, Donald Gunn, David Gooding, Janis Gauthier, Ken Byron and Polaris Land Surveying. The project has also been greatly supported by numerous individuals on the steering committee who have generously donated their time and expertise.  A seed-funding grant from CMHC provided funding for pre-development activities such as surveys, conceptual and site design. 

This unique homeownership model will provide the lots at a price substantially below market, at an estimated price of $50,000 to $70,000.  The owners and steering committee of Dragonfly Commons are looking at different building options to provide an affordable, eco-friendly home option.  The current working plan is to provide a small home for $80,000 to $100,000.

An affordable housing agreement will be established to maintain long-term affordability.  As well, there will be eligibility requirements to ensure that the buyers at Dragonfly Commons have low to moderate income.  The strata will be required to develop ‘no rental’ policies to ensure that this benefits local residents.   There may be an opportunity for non-profit ownership of a few units to provide affordable rental housing. 

This is an outstanding opportunity for individuals, couples or small families that wish to enter into homeownership for the first time and could not otherwise do so in the current housing market.   Potential residents could include those working in our community that are currently finding rental housing unavailable or unaffordable. 

The Salt Spring Island Housing Council will be hosting a community information session on Dragonfly Commons.  The public is invited to attend the event at the Lions Hall – 103 Bonnett Avenue from 2-4 pm on Sunday, June 11, 2017.